CARES - Crisis Assistance Response & Evaluation Services Program

Untitled design (4)

The City of Half Moon Bay has contracted with a local nonprofit service provider, El Centro de Libertad, to provide 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 team is staffed by a 2-person, bilingual mobile unit made up of a specially trained behavioral health professional and emergency medical technician.

The CARES team launched on March 16, 2022, and initially operated only within the city limits of Half Moon Bay in addition to the Moonridge Farmworker Housing Community.  Beginning July 19, 2022, the CARES team began responding to calls across the entire Mid-Coast, from Devil's Slide to Moonridge. Beginning September 1, 2022, the CARES team began operating seven days per week, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

As of September 2022, the community can continue to call 911 to reach CARES, but the County has now launched the 988 crisis hotline, which provides phone support to individuals experiencing a mental health or other crisis.  If they are unable to assist someone over the phone, they may also send a CARES team to respond in-person.  For more info on the new 988 crisis hotline, please visit the Star Vista website.

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, City Manager, at (650) 726-8272 or

Relevant Documents:

CARES Program Infosheet

Program Quarterly Evaluations:

Quarter 1 (March 15 - June 30, 2022)

Quarter 2 (July 1 - September 30, 2022)

Quarter 3 (October 1 - December 31, 2022)

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

Staff Reports:

March 7, 2023 Staff Report

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