Dec. 9, 2021 – A grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency will assist Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System’s efforts to provide housing for the formerly incarcerated.
The $375,000 Tennessee Housing Trust Fund grant will be used by Volunteer Behavioral Health to renovate an existing apartment building located in North Chattanooga. The units will be used to house formerly incarcerated individuals and provide them with supportive services.
THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said the grant funding will allow Volunteer Behavioral Health to provide safe housing for an at-risk population.
“Housing that provides safety and stability plays an important role in helping members of at-risk groups,” Perrey said. “This funding will allow Volunteer Behavioral Health to provide safe, decent housing that will help individuals who have been through the justice system avoid homelessness and contribute to their community.”
Volunteer Behavioral Health CEO and President Phyllis Persinger said the grant funding was crucial to moving the project forward.
“The grant award from THDA allows us to renovate our Signal Hills Drive property to provide 8 permanent housing units to residents who have history of justice system involvement, largely due to severe and persistent mental illness and co-occurring disorders,” Persinger said. “These units are designed to better support this population, who have long histories of homelessness and traumatization.”
Persinger said the completed apartments will help lessen the burden placed on local hospitals, emergency rooms and law enforcement in Hamilton County and that Volunteer Behavioral Health will work alongside community partners like Moccasin Bend Hospital and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office’s FUSE Program to identify residents and administer services.
Renovations of the apartments, which are currently abandoned, are expected to be finished by late-summer 2022.
When complete, the two-story, 2,800 sq. ft. building will feature eight one-bedroom apartments, including two that will be designed to meet the needs of disabled residents. All of the apartments will feature energy-efficient appliances.
The apartments will be considered permanent housing and residents will have access to intensive wrap-around services, including care management and coordination, therapeutic counseling, medication management, substance abuse treatment, Crisis services and SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) services, among others.
The Tennessee Housing Trust Fund (THTF) was created by the THDA board of directors to provide financial support for innovative, affordable initiatives that serve the housing needs of Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents.
Funding for the Tennessee Housing Trust Fund comes entirely from earnings generated through THDA’s Single Family Mortgage program. THTF grants are awarded through a competitive application process. Since 2006 THDA has provided over $80 million in THTF grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations across the state.