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CAHOOTS workers face funding woes amid national attention

WydenCAHOOTS.jpg
Nathan Wilk
/
KLCC
Senator Ron Wyden with a CAHOOTS van in Eugene on August 11.

CAHOOTS is struggling to meet demand in Eugene-Springfield, even as its model for community healthcare is adopted nationally.

CAHOOTS provides emergency mental health services and acts as a police intermediary. Its workers met with state and city officials and Senator Ron Wyden on August 11.

Employees said that 20 percent of their full-time staff has left in 2022, seeking higher-paying employment amid inflation. Consequently, their mobile crisis intervention centers are often understaffed.

At the same time, crisis worker Chelsea Swift said community need is higher than ever, due to scaling-back of other social services during the pandemic.

“At the end of every voicemail, when you can't get a hold of someone, where you can’t walk in anymore, it says if you're experiencing a crisis call CAHOOTS.”

Senator Wyden secured funding for mobile crisis centers in the American Rescue Plan. He said state officials are working to distribute these funds.

Nathan Wilk is a KLCC Reporting Intern through the Snowden Internship Program. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Wilk began volunteering in radio at 11-years-old, and he has served as a radio DJ and host on multiple local stations. Today, he is a Journalism undergraduate at the University of Oregon with a focus in local artistic communities. In his free time, Wilk enjoys writing music and reading old horror novels.