Council agrees to fund plans for Family Justice Center - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Council agrees to fund plans for Family Justice Center

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Chattanooga is one step closer to having a Family Justice Center after City Council members agreed to fund plans to get the project up and going.

Tennessee ranks sixth in the nation in domestic violence which is why leaders want more centers like these to help make getting help easier for victims.

A family justice center inside the Scenic City is a project that's been in the works for 25 years. Chattanooga City Council members helped that project take a giant step forward Tuesday when they agreed to reallocate funds to help get it off the ground.

“We had to get some money to get some design work done and we had to get some money for a temporary location and that sort of thing,” District 8 Councilman Moses Freeman said.

The Council pulled $1.5 million dollars from two accounts-- $1 million from the Brainerd Mission Community Projects and $500,000 from the Eastgate Public Library Relocation funds. The recommendation to pull the funds came from Mayor Andy Berke's administration.

“I think everyone is basically supportive of the Family Justice Center and its development and understands there are several things we need to do to get it going,” Freeman added.

The new center is projected to go inside a large space on Eastgate Loop where the public library branch was once slated to go.

Although still in the planning stages, Executive Director Dr. Valerie Radu says a number of services will be offered inside for victims of multiple kinds of abuse.

“It's really coming together as a really great group of people that are committed to and are coming together to reduce violence and focus on people finding wellness,” Radu said.

With over 700 orders of protection issued and four domestic violence related homicides in Hamilton County last year, Radu says the numbers show a need in Chattanooga.

The center will be the seventh of a statewide alliance.

The Council also agreed to lease a space for a smaller center until the larger center is up and running. The smaller center is slated to be open by July 1, 2015.
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