Hamilton County, TN – During the Hamilton County Commission meeting on December 30th, the Commission heard a resolution to continue a lease agreement for space to be utilized by the Health Department to assist homeless individuals in obtaining insurance through a federal exchange.
District 6 Commissioner David Sharpe said, “This is to help homeless people receive federal insurance as opposed to be completely dependent on Hamilton County.”
The resolution will allow Mayor Coppinger to sign a lease agreement in the amount of $9,945 annually with Chattanooga Church Ministries Inc, doing business as Chattanooga Community Kitchen, to lease 1,891 square feet of space to provide space for outreach and enrollment counselors.
Hamilton County Health Commissioner Becky Barnes said, “This is a space that is right across the street from our clinic and we have counselors in there that help our homeless clients with a variety of things and one of them, certainly, is getting insurance.”
District 1 Commissioner Randy Fairbanks asked Barnes, “Where does this funding come from?”
Barnes stated that the lease is paid with a portion of the funds that is provided by the Federal Government to operate the Homeless Healthcare Center.
Barnes said, “We provide a whole list of wraparound services for homeless individuals trying to move them out of homelessness.”
The Homeless Healthcare Center provides Hamilton County’s homeless population with diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, routine physical exams, issuance of medications, mental health and substance abuse evaluation and treatment, assistance with entitlement programs and housing placement, and transportation to and from the clinic.
Each year approximately 10,000 visits are made to this clinic.
The clinic is a federally funded health care for the homeless program first opened in 1988.
The clinic has formal arrangements in place to secure services for some of the patients through Johnson Mental Health Center, Erlanger Medical Center, CADAS, Southside/ Dodson Avenue Health Centers and Memorial Hospital.
In 1998, the Homeless Healthcare Centers was accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations and in 2001 the substance abuse recovery program was accredited by the behavioral health section of JCAHO.