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FUSE Program

Mental Health Support & Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness

Helping People Get Back On Their Feet

At any given time around 1,600 people are incarcerated at the Hamilton County Jail -- and 40% of them have some form of mental illness. The cycle of mental illness, arrest, and homelessness has a devastating impact on the people it ensnares, and it also comes at a high price for the community.

In 2020, when this effort began, the cost to incarcerate people at the Hamilton County jail was over $100,000 per day.


Hamilton County, along with partners from the philanthropic community, service providers, and others,


attempts from dozens of agencies and stakeholders to break this cycle, the time came to try something different.

Breaking the cycle of mental illness, homelessness, and jail is a moral imperative for our community - it also saves money for the community.

Below you will find resources to learn more about the program, hear from participants and experts, and get the latest status updates.


David Sharpe

The Hamilton County Justice & Mental Health Initiative

Using a proven approach called FUSE (Frequent Users Systems Engagement) we will show how frequent users can break the cycle and build healthy and productive lives in a residential environment at significantly less cost to the community.

What is FUSE? (video)

This short video featuring Janna Jahn, the FUSE Program Manager and Sam Wolfe, a Homeless Program Coordinator with the City of Chattanooga. Sam shares the story of Willie, a homeless man that made an impression.

Commission approves mental health program at Hamilton County jail

After nearly two years of planning, Hamilton County's jail will work to address mental illnesses. On Wednesday, Hamilton County Commissioners approved the sheriff's office to accept $125,000 in grant money to fund mental health support at the jail.

UTC: Hamilton County Frequent User (FUSE) Initiative

Hamilton County struggles with a variety of issues related to individuals with mental illnesses who are in the criminal justice system. An estimated 40% of the inmates incarcerated in Hamilton County have mental illness.

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