Mayor Andre Dickens is moving forward with plans to convert the city jail into a Diversion and Services Center, a 24-hour facility designed to increase the range of options available to police when they responds to calls related to mental health issues, substance abuse and substance abuse. extreme poverty.
Dickens introduced two pieces of legislation at the Feb. 7 Atlanta City Council meeting to move the project forward and cement the city’s partnership with Fulton County on downtown development.
“In the spirit of moving Atlanta forward, we must continue to innovate in our approach to helping people with behavioral and mental health challenges,” Dickens said. “By expanding the Diversion and Services Center, we are providing a central location for coping and recovery resources for our most vulnerable residents.”
The first piece of legislation focuses on securing a third-party operator for the center, while the second transfers $2,950,000 from the uncommitted fund balance to cover one-time capital costs required to complete construction of the center on the jail site at 254 Peachtree St. SW.
The center’s annual operating costs will be shared equally by the City and County of Fulton once the facility opens to the public. The Policing Alternatives and Diversion (PAD) initiative and Grady Hospital will also partner with the center.
In the past, people dealing with a mental health crisis or a drug problem were normally taken to jail, a detention center or a hospital emergency room. PAD and Grady will provide care and services at the diversion center, including peer intake, behavioral health screenings, non-emergency medical care, sobering up rooms, case management, warrant resolution and food, laundry and showers.