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Getting COA Accredited in the Middle of the Pandemic
So much has happened since our Annual Report in 2019! The Coronavirus affected every aspect of our lives, and presented challenges never before imagined. For Willamette Family, these challenges were immense as we are responsible for vulnerable individuals’ lives and health while they are striving to make life changes, as well as for the lives of every staff member who provides essential healthcare to the thousands that we have continued to serve this past year.
I’m gratified to report that everyone from our Board of Directors to each staff person, immediately pivoted to place the highest priority on integrating new health protocols to keep those we serve and our staff safe. We successfully implemented new intake procedures and telehealth services in our outpatient programs, and established residential protocols to assure safe distancing between individuals, provide health screens upon entry, acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and install barriers to protect the health of clients and staff, while reducing possible spread. We successfully obtained grants and otherfunding that allowed us to remodel facilities to create quarantine rooms at Buckley and at both residential programs.
In addition, I am also thrilled to announce that during this year of unprecedented change, Willamette Family attained accreditation through the national Council on Accreditation. Accreditation affirms that Willamette Family meets or exceeds the highest national standards of excellence in our programs.
In addition to assuring that we provide outstanding care to those we serve, accreditation also looks to the future to provide sustainability and growth in a highly competitive market. With great appreciation and respect for our Board and our staff whose work and dedication made this year possible, the skills and resiliency that we have learned will continue to move us forward. The need for compassionate, evidence-based, family focused addiction treatment has never been greater, and—as we have for over 55 years—Willamette Family will be there to offer a hand and hope to those seeking help.
2019 Progress Overview
Collaboration with St. Vincent de Paul to Serve Unhoused Individuals
In 2020 Willamette Family (WF) was asked by St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) to collaborate on providing services to unhoused individuals who were staying at the SVdP “Dawn to Dawn” overnight shelter program and/or were using the day shelter programs at the Eugene Service Station on Hwy 99N by offering behavioral and medical health services.
Clients using the SVdP programs not only needed assistance finding behavioral health (including substance use disorders and mental health) and primary medical care; but often lacked the resources such as transportation and/or the ability to pay for services. By forming a partnership, Willamette Family was able to deliver services to these individuals in a modular building near the Dawn to Dawn program and those services have been named “The HUB” on Hwy 99N.
In April, 2020, Willamette Family staff started providing behavioral health services at the Eugene Service Station, also on Hwy 99N. Throughout the spring and summer Willamette Family staff referred clients to services in the community; helped individuals find benefits they were entitled to; and assisted them in applying for stimulus checks. Due to the pandemic they also distributed masks and explained the importance of hygiene and self- distancing to Service Station clients.
In September SVdP placed modular buildings adjacent to the Dawn to Dawn shelter and Willamette Family staff started offering informational and counseling services to clients in one of the buildings. WF medical staff were also able to do COVID-19 testing at that site and offer some other primary medical care services. Over 600 COVID-19 tests were performed at The HUB. They also distributed over 500 hygiene kits that contained masks, soap, and hand sanitizer materials to clients.
From April through the end of 2020, 966 clients were served at The HUB for outreach to mental health & substance use disorder services, coordination of health care, and/or crisis mental health services. They also delivered consistent messaging on hygiene and encouraged testing for COVID-19 to try to protect individuals and stop the spread of the virus.
Programs offered at The HUB by Willamette Family staff will be expanded into a second modular building on that same site. This partnership between WF and SVdP will help many unhoused individuals find additional tools and resources to stabilize their lives, with a goal of aiding many to transition into permanent housing.