Behavior health teams roam Olympia offering help, services

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A new crisis intervention program in the South Sound has hit the streets in an effort to improve Olympia’s downtown core.

It’s called a “Crisis Response Unit,’ and half a dozen behavioral health specialists walk the streets offering a hand up and an ear to those who need it.

Sometimes they give rides to shelters or doctors – and even hand out shoes or snacks.

While the unit doesn’t solely focus on people experiencing homelessness, the majority of their clients are – with that comes referrals for mental or substance abuse treatment for those who want it.

“We don’t run warrants, we don’t snitch on anybody because in this field trust is really important,” said Buck Williams who is part of the team.

The program officially started in April to help keep people in crisis avoid turning a bad situation into something worse.

The city says in the past two months, the team has responded to 700 calls in the downtown core – many times the teams are dispatched by police or find clients on their own.