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Cities look to CAHOOTS to help people in crisis

CAHOOTS clinical coordinator Kate Gillespie said they've been talking with city leaders in Portland, Denver, Boston and New York City.

Posted: Feb 14, 2019 7:06 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Cities and nonprofits across the country are looking toward CAHOOTS to help people in crisis while taking the burden off conventional first responders.

Driving around town in their specially-equipped vans, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) offers crisis intervention 24/7 in both Eugene and Springfield and are dispatched by 911.

While CAHOOTS has provided mobile crisis intervention for 30 years in Eugene, clinical coordinator Kate Gillespie said as they have grown, so has their fame, and other cities and organizations are looking at them to help start their own programs. Gillespie said they've been talking with city leaders in Portland, Denver, Boston and New York City.

"Working with us, consulting with us to try and figure out what it would take to create a CAHOOTS-type model in a large municipality area like New York City," Gillespie said.

Anne Larsen with the Olympia Police Department in Washington said they just started a program based on the CAHOOTS model. She said their police chief is from Eugene and saw just how wonderful CAHOOTS is.

"I went down to Eugene and saw how the CAHOOTS model worked in real life and really saw the benefits of it and thought that's the model we want to bring up here," Larsen said.

CAHOOTS EMT and crisis counselor Ben Adam Climer said he's excited other cities are taking interest in the CAHOOTS model.

"We are sort of awakening the imaginations of the rest of the country, and that's an exciting time for us," Climer said.

Gillespie said they've been talking with some of the cities for months and expect to continue to hear from nonprofits and other cities in the future.

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