PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A first-of-its-kind program to help people with mental health and addiction crises is now available in Portland.

The Old Town In-Reach program, which has been in the works for more than a year, has three teams of two peer support specialists that move between various centers that serve homeless people or help people who are in crisis.

Peer support specialists say building trust is important so they can work with the people they serve to establish goals and connect them to services, such as addiction and mental health treatment, or even getting them into housing.

Blanchet House’s executive director Scott Kerman says the team’s work to help people in mental health or addiction-fueled crisis is key while they’re serving lunch and dinner.

“It prevents us from having to shut down our services,” he said.

Kerman started working on this program more than a year-and-a-half ago, and in November, Multnomah County decided to donate more than $1 million to help fund this work, which peer support specialists say is already helping

Kerman says he wants to expand the program since it’s going so well. Currently, the teams are moving between Maybelle Center, William Temple House, Rose Haven and Blanchet House.