CARES - Crisis Assistance Response & Evaluation Services Program

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The City of Half Moon Bay is excited to announce the launch of the Crisis Assistance Response & Evaluation Services (CARES) pilot program. The City has contracted with a local nonprofit service provider, El Centro de Libertad, to pilot an alternative response to mental health-related 911 calls traditionally answered by fire, ambulance, or law enforcement. Service calls appropriate for the CARES team include welfare checks, suicidal ideation and other mental health distress, substance abuse, and low-level, nonviolent concerns related to behavioral health. The CARES team will initially operate within the city limits of Half Moon Bay in addition to the Moonridge Farmworker Housing Community and be staffed by a 2-person, bilingual mobile unit made up of a specially trained behavioral health professional and emergency medical technician. Beginning July 19, 2022, the CARES team will begin responding to calls across the entire Mid-Coast, from Devil's Slide to Moonridge.

The CARES program pilot will run through fall of 2022. The initial pilot will be staffed 5 days per week, 8 hours per day. Outside of those hours, 911 will dispatch a more traditional response, as appropriate. In the fall, the program will to expand to 7 days per week with extended response hours each day.

Program updates will be presented to the Public Safety Subcommittee and the City Council throughout the duration of the pilot. The CARES program is sponsored by the City of Half Moon Bay and County of San Mateo, with additional financial support from State's Behavioral Health Justice Intervention Services (BHJIS) program and Kaiser Permanente. For more information, an in-depth staff report is available online and questions can be directed to Matthew Chidester, Assistant City Manager, at (650) 726-8272 or

Relevant Documents:

CARES program Infosheet

Half Moon Bay Review: March 17, 2022 article on the CARES program and ribbon cutting event 

Press Release: Half Moon Bay Partners with El Centro de Libertad and San Mateo County on Crisis Assistance Response and Evaluation Services (CARES) Pilot Program

January 19, 2022 Staff Report

Community Partners:

El Centro De Libertad - The Freedom Center - Program Operator

Similar Programs:

CAHOOTS - Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets - Eugene, OR

PERT - Psychiatric Emergency Response Team -  San Mateo County, CA

SMART - San Mateo Assessment and Referral Team - San Mateo County, CA

Community Wellness and Crisis Response Pilot Project - San Mateo County, CA

SCRT - Street Crisis Response Team - San Francisco, CA 

inResponse - Mental Health Support Team - Santa Rosa, CA