What is CAHOOTS? CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis intervention team integrated into the City of Eugene’s public safety system. Free response is available for a broad range of non-criminal crises, including homelessness, intoxication, disorientation, substance abuse and mental illness problems, and dispute resolution. Non-emergency medical care, first aid, and transportation to services is also provided. The CAHOOTS van can be dispatched through the City’s non-emergency police call center, 541-682-5111. The service is confidential and voluntary. It is staffed and managed by White Bird Clinic.
What does CAHOOTS do? CAHOOTS provides a broad range of services including, but not limited to: crisis intervention, counseling, mediation, information and referral, transportation to social services (including Sacred Heart University District Hospital, Shelter Care’s Royal Avenue Program, Buckley Detoxification and Sobering Center, the Eugene Mission, White Bird Clinic, Looking Glass Station 7, St. Vincent de Paul’s Service Station, and others), first aid, and basic-level emergency medical care. CAHOOTS is designed to assist the Eugene community with problems related to depression, mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness. CAHOOTS is not designed to respond to violent situations or life-threatening medical emergencies.
When is CAHOOTS available? CAHOOTS’ hours of operation are from 11AM to 3AM, every day. CAHOOTS can be dispatched to anywhere in Eugene’s city limits during that 16-hour period.
How does somebody contact CAHOOTS? CAHOOTS receives calls through the Eugene police non-emergency dispatch: 541-682-5111. After calling, press 1 until you are able to speak with a dispatcher, then ask for CAHOOTS services. Any person who reports a crime in progress, violence, or a life-threatening emergency may receive a response from the police or emergency medical services instead of or in addition to CAHOOTS. Persons wishing to protect their identity need not give their full name. If you see CAHOOTS in the community, you may request direct assistance. If you wish to speak to a crisis worker by phone and do not want direct contact, your needs may be better served by calling White Bird Clinic’s 24-hour crisis line: 541-687-4000.
Do services provided by CAHOOTS cost money? No. CAHOOTS services are offered at no cost to any person in the city of Eugene.
Does CAHOOTS take people home? No. CAHOOTS is not a taxi service. CAHOOTS will only provide transportation to appropriate social services.
Does CAHOOTS schedule appointments? No. CAHOOTS responds to calls in the order they are given by dispatch, with special priority given to assisting other social services, the police and fire departments. Whenever possible, CAHOOTS will triage calls and respond to them on the basis of urgency. CAHOOTS strives to respond as promptly as possible to all calls but delayed arrival times frequently occur due to call volume. No person should ever expect CAHOOTS to arrive at an exact time or depend on CAHOOTS for immediate attention or transportation for an appointment. CAHOOTS will respond as soon as they are available.
What is CAHOOTS’ relationship with the Eugene Police Department? CAHOOTS is a mobile social service, not a law enforcement agency. The CAHOOTS team is crisis counselors and Emergency Medical Technicians working for White Bird Clinic and contracted by the City of Eugene. CAHOOTS shares a central dispatch with the police department and responds to assist the police (and many other agencies) with certain types of behavioral emergencies (family disputes, suicidal ideation, public intoxication, etc). Police sometimes assist CAHOOTS in situations when danger may be present. CAHOOTS is designed to provide an alternative to police action whenever possible for non-criminal substance abuse, poverty, and mental health crisis. The CAHOOTS staff do not carry weapons and have no authority to arrest or detain persons against their will.
How does somebody join CAHOOTS? CAHOOTS is a diverse collective of people committed to providing compassionate care. CAHOOTS is a selective group due to the unusual and sensitive nature of the services provided. CAHOOTS staff are required to have education and/or previous work experience in the fields of crisis counseling, social services, and emergency medicine. CAHOOTS does not hire on a regular basis but interested parties can contact the program coordinator to learn more about doing a ride along, the training process, and employment opportunities.