Travis County considering mental health diversion center
Travis County Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with recommendations from a recent forensic mental health report. The 10-month study evaluated Travis County jail inmates struggling with mental health or substance abuse disorders.
The centerpiece of the recommendations is a 32-bed mental health diversion center to provide services for citizens in need of support, but do not require hospitalization or incarceration. Construction costs are estimated at $30 million.
The report identified 4 other recommendations as high priority, including:
- Updating county technology platform to make data sharing easier.
- Developing housing programs for both short-term and permanent solutions.
- Increase the number of peer specialists where people would intersect with the mental health and criminal legal system.
- Reinstate the Counsel at First Appearance Program.
County staff will now look in to funding options, including grants and federal funding. The City of Austin is also expected to research support for the plans and possible funding sources.