CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis intervention program staffed by White Bird Clinic personnel using City of Eugene vehicles. This relationship has been in place for nearly 30 years and is well-embedded in the community.
CAHOOTS provides support to the community by taking on many of the social service type calls for service to include crisis counseling. CAHOOTS personnel often provide initial contact and transport for people who are intoxicated, mentally ill, or disoriented, as well as transport for necessary non-emergency medical care.
How does the City support CAHOOTS?
The City of Eugene currently funds CAHOOTS through Eugene Springfield Fire. In Fiscal Year 2018 (July 2017 to June 2018) the contract budget for the CAHOOTS program was approximately $798,000 which funded 31 hours of service per day (this includes overlapping coverage), seven days a week. One van was on duty 24 hours a day and another provided overlap coverage 7 hours per day. At the time, the contract was funded through the Eugene Police Department. Effective July 1, 2023, the CAHOOTS contract was moved to the fire department.
Over the last several years, the City has increased funding to add more hours of service. The Fiscal Year 2020 (July 2019 to June 2020) budget included an additional $281,000 on a one-time basis to add 11 additional hours of coverage to the existing CAHOOTS contract. CAHOOTS was able to add 5 of the 11 hours of service to bridge an afternoon gap to maintain two-van coverage. The City carried over the funding for the 5-hour expansion through Fiscal Year 2021 (July 2020 to June 2021).
Calls for Service
CAHOOTS is dispatched on EPD’s service channel and calls are triaged through the Central Lane Communication Center. Each van is staffed with a medic (nurse or EMT) and an experienced crisis worker.
Over the last six years, the demand for CAHOOTS services has increased significantly:
2014: CAHOOTS was dispatched and arrived at 9,646 calls for service
2021: CAHOOTS was dispatched and arrived at 16,479 calls for service
In 2021, EPD received 109,855 public initiated calls for service and had 27,672 self-initiated calls for service.
CAHOOTS Diverts 3-8% of Calls from Police
If not for CAHOOTS, an officer would be dispatched to handle the situation. Some of the CAHOOTS calls are a joint response, or CAHOOTS is summoned to a police or fire call after it is determined their services are a better match to resolve the situation. However, CAHOOTS remains a primary responder for many calls providing a valuable and needed resource to the community.