PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Street Response, the city’s unarmed team of emergency responders who are trained to assist in mental health crises, is now traveling around the city in vans filled with useful supplies.
The team tweeted about the vans Tuesday and said it took them a year and a half to get them because of supply chain issues.
“We are so excited for these new vans because we have a lot of the basic necessities,” mental health crisis responder Adria Willoughby said in a video tour of a van.
The vehicles are packed with plenty of emergency supplies and comfort items.
Some of the necessities include medical supplies and Narcan, food, water, and hygiene kits.
They also include comfort items like tents, sleeping bags, spare clothing items, towels, and hand warmers. Smaller items like flashlights, hair ties and hand warmers are available to give to people who receive treatment.
The van even has dog food.
One thing Willoughby values about the van is the privacy it provides.
“Our new vehicles provide an opportunity if a client just needs to get some AC or talk privately, we can come back here and do so,” she said while standing in the back of the van.
It also offers a place to do wound care and take vitals. Mental health responders travel to crisis calls with an EMT.
Willoughby said sometimes a conversation that starts with handing out a granola bar can end with someone getting housing.
“I think the whole goal is to create that positive interaction with people, so that they feel safe and trusted,” she said.