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White Bird Breaks Ground on New Crisis Center

White Bird is developing an expanded Crisis facility adjacent to Eugene’s Whiteaker Neighborhood

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EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird Clinic’s Crisis program will offer expanded walk-in services as well as a telephone crisis line from a renovated facility at 990 W 7th Ave. Construction started April 29th and is expected to be completed in early July. The new location improves access to White Bird services for community members in the Whiteaker and West Eugene.

The new crisis center will house the crisis line phone service, which White Bird has operated 24/7/365 for 50 years, as well as walk-in services in a trauma-informed space. The choice of location is intended to expand White Bird’s presence in the Whiteaker neighborhood as well as its reach into west Eugene and western Lane County.

This safe space is intended to minimize environmental triggers that could be re-traumatizing. In 2018, the crisis team had 13,387 client encounters, 2,743 of them walk-in and 10,644 through the telephone crisis line. There were 4,237 contacts with clients in crisis and 2,976 contacts with clients seeking mental health information and referral. We served 2,006 unhoused clients and diverted 636 emergency room visits.

The crisis center construction is the first of many projects that will increase White Bird’s ability to care for Eugene’s most vulnerable community members. The agency has purchased two new buildings, is developing new dental and medical clinics, and is expanding CAHOOTS coverage and hours.

White Bird is taking a risk and growing to better serve, and is turning to the community for help with the financial resources needed to care for our most vulnerable community members. Contributions support White Bird’s mission and services for those in need. All donations are tax deductible.

In the Media

CAHOOTS Model Featured in Street Roots Newspaper article “Rethinking our first response”

Kaia Sands, Executive Director of Street Roots, a Portland newspaper that creates income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty through media that is a catalyst for individual and social change, visited White Bird Clinic’s mobile crisis support program, CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) this month.

In 2019, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Danielle Outlaw and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s staff have all come to Eugene to learn about the CAHOOTS model response to non-criminal matters resulting from homelessness. Kaia joined our crisis worker and medic team for a shift and shared her story, available in PDF for download here with permission.

Street Roots visit to CAHOOTS helped to inform their plan for a Portland Street Response team. This would be a non-law enforcement system of six well-marked mobile response vans teamed with a specially-trained firefighter-EMT and peer support specialist dispatched through both 911 and nonemergency channels. Street Roots explores how these issues are being responded to in Portland and Eugene and how we can build a better system. Read more (PDF)…

End-of-Life Counseling

White Bird Clinic is now offering in-home, end-of-life counseling services provided by licensed/supervised mental health counselors. Compassionate and client-centered, this service seeks to provide support for psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual issues related to death and dying. We serve adults on Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) as well as homeless individuals or those at risk of becoming homeless. Hours are by appointment only.

Please call 541-342-8255 for more information, email Amy May, CSWA, QMHP at amymay@whitebirdclinic.org or complete our online screening form now.

White Bird Clinic Expanding Dental & Medical Services

White Bird Executive Coordinator Miles Mabray (front) stands with Fund Developer, Chris Hecht, in front of the dental and medical clinic currently serving 2,000 low-income patients annually.
CREDIT TIFFANY ECKERT, KLCC

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EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird Clinic will purchase the building at 1415 Pearl St. and redevelop it into a dental clinic to serve burgeoning community need. The existing dental facilities at 1400 Mill St will be renovated to add urgent care services to White Bird’s medical clinic.

The new building will allow White Bird dental to serve 50 additional patients each week and increase capacity to host student internships. The clinic will also provide denture care for elderly patients and allow White Bird to serve more children and families. White Bird medical’s new urgent care services will provide an alternative to hospital emergency room visits for patients experiencing an acute issue who lack health insurance.

“With the increase in community need for affordable urgent and preventative dental care, we’ve been on the lookout for a larger facility to better serve clients. When this opportunity came up, we knew we had to move on it immediately,” White Bird Dental Program Coordinator Kim Freuen said.

Founded in 1995, the dental clinic provides urgent care as well as preventative care. The program has continuously grown and is now constrained by its 23 year-old facility, and is not operating at optimal capacity due to a shortage of space. This year to date, the dental clinic has provided 4,848 visits for 1,992 patients:

  • 829 for emergency care;
  • 1,322 for hygiene/preventative care; and
  • 2,697 for restorative care.

According to Trillium Community Health Plan, many of their patients don’t ever see a dentist. The last two Community Health Improvement Plans for Lane County identified affordable dental care as a major issue. Poor oral health presents significant challenges for many unhoused community members; White Bird recognizes that need and meets it.

White Bird Medical Clinic provides affordable and friendly medical care to indigent, homeless, low-income, and otherwise marginalized populations, such as community members who are employed but uninsured or underinsured. In addition to staff physicians, there is a behavioral health consultant and a psychiatric prescriber who collaborate with the physicians to offer integrated, holistic care. This year to date, the medical clinic has provided 2,226 visits for 950 patients. 1,020 of those visits were with unhoused patients.

Providing primary care to patients is crucially important, as White Bird’s patients often suffer from multiple complex medical issues that are compounded by socioeconomic barriers to health care and lifestyle changes. These community members face significant barriers as well as discrimination when attempting to access health care institutions in the community, and having White Bird primary care providers advocate for them and coordinate their care is vital.

The new medical urgent care service will divert a great number of emergency room visits, which are very costly for all stakeholders. White Bird Clinic is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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In the News

Opiate Overdose Response

This past weekend represented an unusually high number of heroin and other opiate overdoses in the Eugene/Springfield area, but these overdoses have been in keeping with recently observed trends. There have been two distinct patterns of heroin and other opiate related overdoses occurring with increased frequency: poly-substance OD’s and fentanyl contaminated OD’s:

  • Poly-substance overdoses present a unique frustration to first-responders because they generally combine opiates, alcohol, and other substances often including benzodiazopenes or other prescription pharmaceuticals, which requires field stabilization and hospital treatment.
  • Fentanyl contamination has been detected in various street drugs and counterfeit prescription medications in the Pacific Northwest, and has been particularly common locally in a strain of heroin that has been encountered by users and first responders in recent weeks.

Lane Co. EMS, EPD, SPD, and CAHOOTS all carry the opiate overdose reversing medication Naloxone, commonly referred to by its trade name, Narcan. Naloxone is administered to treat overdose patients presenting with respiratory distress caused by the overdose, the medication enters the respiratory center of the brain stem and flushes neural synapses by out-competing the opiates present in the blood stream to to temporarily reverse respiratory inhibition; for patients whose breathing has ceased Naloxone is frequently administered along with CPR.

CAHOOTS, specifically, has not experienced a significant increase in overdose responses, largely because the increased public awareness of the opiate crisis has increased the aggressiveness of EMS and law enforcement responses to these emergencies. White Bird’s main clinic staff including the Crisis Team and Front Rooms/Reception staff have, on the other hand, reported a significant increase in interventions this year, with three incidents of Naloxone and CPR administration in the past 2 months. White Bird has begun the process of standardizing Naloxone training for all staff in addition to First Aid and CPR requirements.

Locally, the increased frequency of opiate overdoses has not been accompanied by a proportionate increase in overdose deaths. Increased public awareness has led to increased public involvement, with bystander-administered Naloxone and CPR saving brain tissue and lives prior to professional responders arriving on scene, and with increased awareness of Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law amongst drug users reducing the fear and stigma associated with calling 911 to seek assistance in an emergency.

The lives saved have demonstrated the benefits of harm reduction policies:

  • Public health education and outreach efforts increase awareness of the situation, increasing the likelihood of an overdose being recognized and treated.
  • Good Samaritan Laws provide bystanders who interact with law enforcement temporary respite from prosecution, decreasing the likelihood of an overdose patient being abandoned.
  • Broad availability of Naloxone—it is available over-the-counter at most pharmacies free of charge for individuals covered by private insurance or OHP and is also available free of charge along with training through HIV Alliance—increases the likelihood of the medication being available in the event of an emergency.
  • Bystander education including CPR training for community groups and Naloxone administration training for users, their peers, families, and those who work with them facilitates rapid overdose intervention.
  • Aggressive EMS and police responses to overdoses due to their increased public profile decreases the likelihood of overdose patients fleeing the scene of their resuscitation, only to cease breathing again due to lack of follow-up care.

The Eugene HIV Alliance, through their syringe exchange program, has made the injectable form of Narcan available. It also provides training to individuals and groups on how to administer it.

The syringe exchange is held five days a week at different locations, and the service is free.

Eugene Out of the Darkness Community Walk

When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.

CAHOOTS will be tabling and answering questions about what services we provide and how to access them. We will also be facilitating a safe space for anyone struggling with emotions in reference to the event.

Event Details

Walk Date: 09/30/2018
Walk Location: Alton Baker Park – Eugene, OR
Check-in/Registration Time: 09/30/2018 at 10:00 am
Walk Begins: 11:00 am
Walk Ends: 1:00 pm

For more information, please contact:

Contact Name: Sara Scofield
Contact Phone: 541-513-5937
Contact Email: swhopner@yahoo.com

Online registration closes at noon (local time) the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk from the time check-in begins until the walk starts. Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.

Projects with Purpose

The City of Eugene would like to invite people experiencing homelessness to participate in a park cleanup project (general landscaping), followed by showers, lunch, and on-site resources and social service providers. This event was inspired by the
listening session Mayor Vinis hosted last summer to hear from unhoused members of the community about how we can use and enjoy our public parks together. No experience necessary. Tools, gloves and instruction provided.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Regan Watjus, Policy Analyst, City Manager’s Office at 541.682.8442 or Regan.S.Watjus@ci.eugene.or.us

Day of Caring

No matter your income, insurance coverage, or lack thereof, White Bird Clinic is available to assist you on your journey of growth and recovery. Every day, White Bird offers services that range from medical and dental, to addiction counseling and therapy, to crisis intervention.

Learn about these programs and meet our community partners at the Annual Day of Caring on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at 341 E 12th Ave for free health screenings, pizza, and more. Located behind our building at 341 E 12th Ave.

CAHOOTS Receives EPD 2018 Partnership Award

Congratulations to CAHOOTS medic and crisis workers Rose Fenwick and Kimber Hawes, who were honored at a ceremony yesterday by the Eugene Police Department with the 2018 Partnership Award! Thank you for your care and compassion in serving our community.

Renovations Completed at 341 E. 12th Avenue

After two weeks of renovations, Front Rooms is re-open for business! We put a lot of TLC into our beloved old building, including a deep clean, floor renovation, wood restoration and a fresh coat of paint. All services are back open for usual hours, including mail, crisis walk-ins and homeless day-use services.

White Bird’s Help Book Has Been Hacked

Last weekend, White Bird Clinic had the good fortune to participate in Hack for a Cause, a local technology competition to build solutions to provide transformative public benefit. Over 200 participants volunteered to put their coding and software skills to the test and 11 non-profits offered up their problems to solve. The one we selected was the community help directory. White Bird’s Performance Coordinator Alan Glick describes what we were hoping for in the following video.

YOU ARE INVITED to change the world?*Join the tech community NEXT WEEK to develop solutions to 11 local challenges including this one submitted by Alan Glick & White Bird Clinic*Are you in? Learn more here ? ? ?http://hackforacause.org#hack4cause

Posted by Technology Association of Oregon in the Southern Willamette Valley on Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Three teams of volunteers worked around the clock, exploring how our paper Help Book could become an accessible online database. Each of the solutions they presented were beyond our expectations and the community networking opportunities planted seeds for future projects with some of the other non-profit challengers.

screen shot

Demo Start Screen

Joshua, sent us a comment after the event: “I want to say, after really getting to know this data, this is an amazing resource, and I am honored to be able to help make it better.”

We will continue to develop this digital Help Book website with our partners for a 2019 release. We are so thankful for the support from the Technology Association of Oregon for making this hack possible.

Until then, you can support our work by ordering the 2018 edition Help Book and joining us at the Lane County Medical Society building at 990 W. 7th Avenue to pick up your book(s) and have lunch with us on Friday, April 27 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm to celebrate 40 years of local, human service information referral and see what’s next for Lane County’s Help Book.

CAHOOTS Receives 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award

On April 10th, CAHOOTS was selected by the Lane County Board of Commissioners as a recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award. The award was presented during the Commissioners’ meeting to recognize the CAHOOTS team’s work in the field as behavioral health first responders, as well as their efforts in outreach, training, education, and support for individuals and groups throughout the area.

White Bird’s Hack for a Cause Challenge

White Bird Clinic is excited to announce our challenge has been accepted for Hack for a Cause 2018! We’re looking forward to working with the Technology Association of Oregon and meeting our volunteers.

All participants will receive access to the Downtown Athletic Club for the duration of the event. Meals and snacks will be provided to attendees who are lending their expertise and knowledge to build technical solutions for the challenges presented.

Click Here for Full Proposal

Questions?

Contact us at info@whitebirdclinic.org.

Suggestions or community feedback?

We’d love to hear them. Want more information? Meet us at Tech Tuesday at the Barn Light, 3/27 from 5:30-7:30pm. Come say hi – we’ll be the ones in the White Bird shirts.

 

White Bird Opioid Treatment Program

White Bird Clinic has recently started a medication assisted treatment program for opioid abuse and dependence and now have a suboxone prescriber. The White Bird Opioid Treatment Program is designed to support individuals who are breaking the chain of opiate use. The program connects clients with a suboxone prescriber and supportive services with our behavioral and mental health counseling services.

Once admitted into Chrysalis Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, a client will be connected with a counselor for weekly counseling sessions to support the client’s individual goals. The client will also have access to group counseling and other support services such as; an Acupuncture Clinic, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Peer Support. Chrysalis also has a specialized opiate group “The Ethos Group.” Where individuals can find a supportive environment with others who are also breaking the chain of opiate use and discuss specific issues related to opiate use. Once a client has been assessed for medication assisted treatment appointments with our medical provider will be arranged for suboxone services. Weekly counseling sessions along with weekly medical appointments will be required for suboxone maintenance.

To enroll in the White Bird Opioid Treatment Program call 541-683-1641 or come by our office at 350 East 11th Avenue Eugene, Or. and ask for our data packet. Once the new client data packet is completed an intake can be scheduled. There will also be a mandatory TB test required for scheduling an intake and that can be performed at our White Bird Medical Clinic or at an individual’s primary care doctor’s office if they currently have a primary care doctor.

Th White Bird Opioid Treatment Program has reserved slots for homeless individuals to ensure services are provided to those who need it most. There are also a select number of slots for individuals who are not experiencing homelessness. We accept OHP and have funding for scholarships for individuals who do not have insurance. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call at 541-683-1641 or come by our office.

Jill Heiman Vision Fund Helps White Bird Clinic Provide Cold Weather Gear

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!

Valentine’s Day Flu Clinic

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.

White Bird Crisis Response at Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield

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.

Helping People in Crisis: Register-Guard Editoral

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.

This editorial is part of a Register-Guard series focusing on productive responses to homelessness reposted with permission from http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/36272835-78/helping-people-in-crisis.html.csp