JACKSON — Mississippi’s Department of Mental Health says it can use money it already has to comply with pledges to federal authorities to create more community living spots and spend more on housing.
Yesterday, the department told lawmakers it doesn’t need more state money in the budget beginning July 1.
The U.S. Department of Justice threatened to sue Mississippi in 2011 if it didn’t move people out of mental hospitals and into community settings, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In an Aug. 29 letter, Attorney General Jim Hood agreed to engage in settlement talks. In exchange, the federal government agreed not to sue Mississippi for at least six months.
In the letter, the state agreed to create another 250 community living slots, above the 650 created in recent years.