Living on the streets is even harder without a sleeping bag. Thanks to a generous donation from the Jill Heiman Vision Fund, White Bird Clinic greatly increased our supply of cold weather gear during the coldest months of 2017-2018. When the weather turns to rain and sleet, unhoused residents of Lane County come to our clinic seeking warm clothing and bedding. We used funds to bulk order some of our most requested items.
Tarps, sleeping bags, socks, gloves, and hats are vital for people living outdoors in cold weather. White Bird collects donated items every year from community partners and supporters, but these unfortunately are never quite enough to meet community need. The Jill Heiman funds enabled us to buy items efficiently, in large quantities. We purchased 480 tarps, 320 sleeping bags, 2,550 pairs of socks, 240 pairs of gloves, and 240 knit winter hats. Most of these items have already been dispersed to folks in need, and the remaining stock will be depleted well before the cold weather ends.
Three of our departments distributed the grant funded purchases. Front Rooms, a respite and light day use resource in Eugene, distributed most of the items. Case managers from the Homeless department accessed gear for their clients. Some supplies, particularly sleeping bags, were distributed by CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets), White Bird’s mobile crisis service. The people who received gear were mostly unhoused residents in neighborhoods on the east side of Eugene, though some reached people in the greater Eugene/Springfield metro area.
White Bird is a collective environment organized to enable people to gain control of their social, emotional and physical well-being through direct service, education and community. We greatly appreciate the kind and expedient support we’ve received from the Jill Heiman Fund both for this project, and in the past. You helped us provide critically needed winter wear for Lane County’s unhoused and underserved community members.
Many thanks to the Jill Heiman Fund Committee and our beloved Fair Family!
Starting March 5, White Bird will offer free, confidential walk-in counseling and referral for individuals at the Downtown Eugene Public Library.
In brief sessions, professional staff will provide a listening ear, emotional support, information about local resources, and practical problem-solving assistance.
This service will be available Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The new walk-in service at the Downtown Library is supported by a one-year grant from Lane County. The aim is to increase community access to White Bird’s services by providing a convenient schedule at a centrally-located site.
For more information about this service, or to reach White Bird’s 24/7 hotline, call 541-687-4000.
Join us for an Evening in the Vineyard with White Bird at Sweet Cheeks Winery on March 24th at 6 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. $25 tickets include a glass of wine and appetizers, silent auction, live music from Mark Alan, and raffles. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
$25.00 per ticket
online ticket sales are now closed but tickets will be available at the door
Show you care this Valentine’s Day by getting your flu shot. We’ll be offering free vaccinations from 1-3pm on Wednesday, February 14th at our offices at 341 E. 12th Avenue.
Look for us at the picnic tables out back.
Influenza (flu) is a seasonal disease that can cause mild to severe illness. Most experts think flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
People can spread the flu even if they don’t know they’re sick. The flu can be more serious for some people, including young children, pregnant women, older people, people with certain health conditions and smokers. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Following recent events at the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield, counselors from CAHOOTS and White Bird Clinic’s Crisis office responded to the school to provide grief and loss counseling to students, staff, and their families. An extension of the weekly Mobile Mental Health Resource Clinic already staffed by members of the CAHOOTS team, these counselors facilitated both individual and group counseling and will continue to work with A3 and the Springfield School District to support everyone affected by this tragedy.
CAHOOTS mobile crisis counseling services are available in Springfield 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be requested via Springfield Police non-emergency dispatch at (541)726-3714.
Additional crisis support is also available 24/7 by phone at (541)687-4000, or walk-in at White Bird’s Crisis clinic, 341 E. 12th Ave in Eugene.
Thank you 100+ Women Who Care in Eugene/Springfield for your vote of support for White Bird Clinic’s mobile crisis program CAHOOTS. Your group donation will help to make a positive difference in our community.
100+Women Who Care, Eugene-Springfield provides immediate funds to 501.c.3 organizations that work to improve life in our local area. They meet 1 hour, 4 times a year, learn about local non-profits, vote for one & write checks on the spot. With 100 members, they can raise $10,000 in just 1 hour!
CAHOOTS, staffed by people like Daniel Murray (left) Sam Williamson, Kate Gillespie, Robert Parrish, Henry Cakebread, Brenton Gicker and Laurel Lisovskis provide medical services to those most in need in our community. (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard)
The CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) program began in Eugene in 1989 as a collaboration between the city of Eugene and White Bird Clinic.
CAHOOTS started small: one van equipped with medical supplies and trained personnel, operating part-time in Eugene. Its mission was simple: to offer help to individuals and families, housed and unhoused, in crisis.
The idea was that it would be better — and cheaper — to have people trained and experienced in counseling and medical care to respond to these calls, which had been going to police and fire departments.
The wisdom of that decision has been amply borne out since then by CAHOOTS’ exponential growth over the last three decades and the place it has made for itself in the Eugene-Springfield community.
It has more than tripled its local presence with two vans in Eugene and one in Springfield, and gone from part-time patrols to 24-7 service.
The two-person teams that staff each van respond to an average of about 15 to 16 calls in a 12-hour shift in Eugene, although it can be as many as 25 calls per shift — slightly less in Springfield, CAHOOTS employee Brenton Gicker says, which works out to tens of thousands of calls per year.
Gicker is a registered nurse and emergency medical technician; his partner on a recent night, Maddy Slayden, is a paramedic.
They and their co-workers are a welcome presence on the streets of Eugene-Springfield, greeted with warmth by police officers, with relief by business owners who prefer the option of calling CAHOOTS to calling police, and with respect by the people they help.
CAHOOTS is a significant part of the network of organizations and agencies that provide help to the growing number of people who are homeless locally — about half of CAHOOTS’ calls are to help someone who is homeless, ranging in age from children to seniors.
The CAHOOTS teams have earned respect in the homeless community not just for the help they provide — from distributing socks and bottles of water to emergency medical care and help accessing resources such as medical treatment and emergency shelter — but by the way they do it.
The CAHOOTS employees offer dignity and courtesy, which are often in short supply for people who are homeless.
A typical shift — if there were such a thing — for a CAHOOTS team might include responding to a call about a homeless person disrupting a business; working with a family in crisis; helping someone who is suffering from substance abuse, mental illness or developmental disabilities access services and find safe shelter for the night; treating injuries; picking up people who are being discharged from a hospital or clinic with no place to go and taking them to a safe place where they can get help; and responding to a call from a landlord worried about the welfare of a tenant.
They are trained to address issues such as mental illness or substance abuse and skilled in coaxing people to agree to get the help they need.
Many of their calls involve driving people who are suffering from mental illness or substance abuse to an emergency
room or, if their problem doesn’t merit medical care, to a safe place to spend the night.
Despite more than tripling the size of CAHOOTS in the past few years, the need for its services continues to grow faster than CAHOOTS’ resources.
“I’m frustrated because we can’t be everywhere at once,” Gicker says. “There’s always things we’d like to be involved in, sometimes we don’t have the resources we need, or access to information. I feel like we’re often only scratching the surface.”
CAHOOTS is a uniquely local response to local needs — people familiar with the program say they don’t know of anything quite like it elsewhere.
Its growth in recent years has shown the need for its service; the response within the community, its ability to meet them given the resources.
It’s time to start thinking about expanding a program that has been successful and that serves a need that continues to grow.
Ideally, adding another van would be a step toward meeting this growing need, as well as allowing expansion of service to areas such as Santa Clara and Goshen that have few resources. It also would allow CAHOOTS staff to respond more quickly to calls seeking help, reach more people who are in need of help, and spend more time working to connect people with the resources they need.
It’s hard to put a dollar value on what CAHOOTS does — how do you determine, for example, how many people didn’t die on the streets because of CAHOOTS? How many people who were able to get help that allowed them to stabilize their lives, or medical care that relieved suffering? How do you quantify exactly how much taxpayer money was saved by using CAHOOTS instead of police or firefighters, or the value to businesses of knowing they can call CAHOOTS for help?
But the role the CAHOOTS teams play in Lane County is a critical one, and likely to become even more critical in the coming years.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program Opportunities
White Bird is an approved National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site in a Health Professional Shortage Area of greatest need. (HPSA Scores: Primary Care: 18, Dental: 20, Mental Health: 22) The following positions are eligible for student loan repayment through the National Health Services Corps.
Back Office RN: This position is being hired for up to 28 hours per week and the salary is equivalent to $24/hr. This position is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the medical clinic’s back office including triage of unscheduled patients or potential patients, nurse visits, completing medical records, rooming patients, orienting volunteer RNs, completing referrals and diagnostics ordered by physician, and assisting the physician with treatment oriented needs as requested.
Back Office RN – Relief Pool: This position is being hired for up to 35 hours per week and the salary is equivalent to $24/hr. This position is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the medical clinic’s back office including triage of unscheduled patients or potential patients, nurse visits, completing medical records, rooming patients, orienting volunteer RNs, completing referrals and diagnostics ordered by physician, and assisting the physician with treatment oriented needs as requested.
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP): This position is being hired for up to 0.5 FTE, and the salary is equivalent to $48/hr. This position is responsible for providing direct patient care to our medical clinic’s patients and supporting the Medical Director/Staff Physician as needed.
Staff Physician: This position is being hired for up to 25 hours per week, and the salary is equivalent to $80/hr. Staff Physicians are responsible for healthcare delivery in an integrated, team-based, evidence based Patient Centered Medical Home.
Our dentist, Dr Sixto Contreras died on October 11.
Dr. Contreras graduated from OHSU in 1994. He opened a private dental practice in Coos Bay Oregon. He was a native Spanish speaker who believed in supporting public health.
At one time in the clinic history we were struggling to hire a dentist. Dr. Contreras arranged his schedule so that he could work several days in a row at White Bird every other week. This allowed us to keep our grants and provide excellent care for patients.
Since 2012, Dr. Contreras made the drive from Coos Bay on Fridays for our 7 a.m. walk- in clinic.
He never missed a day, including the morning an accident disabled his car. He called a tow truck and made it to the office in time to see the first patient.
On Saturdays he worked at Lane Community College’s Clock Tower Clinic. Spanish speaking patients at both clinics were relieved to have a native speaker.
Dr Contreras was an energetic man who enjoyed motorcycles, kayaking and cooking. He taught Cuban cooking classes at Fifth Street Public Market.
He was a foodie who often brought Cuban beans to share and enjoyed taking staff out for Indian food lunches.
Many, many Lane County residents have been relieved from dental pain by treatment provided by Dr. Contreras.
He leaves a big hole in public dentistry and in our hearts. We hope he rests in peace.
Please take a moment to look through your closets and storage for some of the much needed items listed here. The rain and cold is coming and we want to be able to help folks who are struggling in our community meet their most basic of needs.
Thank You! And please share this post to help us spread the word.