Sheriff's Office Gets $28,000 Donation; Seeks More Funds For FUSE Program

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus
Sheriff Jim Hammond and Gino Bennett asked the County Commission to accept a $28,000 donation to the sheriff’s office during Wednesday’s agenda session. The money comes courtesy of AEGIS, the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Foundation. What that money will be used for will be specified at a later date. 

“The AEGIS foundation has funds they wish to donate to the sheriff’s office for some needed items,” Sheriff Hammond said. “This is to get the donation into county coffers, and we will come back with individual requests later.”

The HCSO is also asked for permission to “submit a continuum” for a $125,000 grant intended to help the FUSE (Frequent Users Systems Engagement) program. 

“This resolution is basically a request to allow us to negotiate and apply for this grant,” Gino Bennett said.
“It’s a competitive grant, and it will come up every year. The majority of these funds will go to a housing navigator and additional responsibilities expenses that go along with getting people housing.”

Mr. Bennett said it is difficult to get housing for the participants, and he said, “We do offer incentives to landlords to mitigate any type of damages the tenant might cause to the property.”

The FUSE program hopes to get participants into permanent housing, although the program is prepared to use temporary housing until more permanent housing can be found. One of the Commissioners asked Mr. Bennett to define what “temporary housing” meant. 

“They end up in a motel room on the way to more permanent housing, which is a lease with a landlord,” Mr. Bennett said. “We hope to move them out of the motels as quickly as possible, since that’s not the best environment for someone suffering from mental illness.”

Commissioner Katherlyn Geter voiced her continued support for the FUSE program, and also asked the HCSO about other funds they could use to further support the program. She said, “I know housing is a big part of success for people participating in the FUSE program, so I’m just wondering if there are other matching funds and grants you’re looking at to supplement this?”

“There’s a little over a billion, yes a billion, dollars of grant money that’s coming down the pipe and I will be very aggressive about pursuing that money in the coming months,” Sheriff Hammond said.

The Commission will vote on both resolutions next Wednesday.

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