A former detox facility adjacent to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus has been transformed into a residential treatment center for people with serious mental illnesses.
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Behavioral Health Services Department and operating partner Momentum for Health celebrated the completion of the new center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 8.
“Twenty months ago, we made a call to action to treat and alleviate the ongoing mental health and substance use crisis in the county,” said Supervisor and Board President Susan Ellenberg, who co-authored the January 2022 declaration of a mental health crisis with Supervisor Otto Lee. “Since then, we have greatly increased funding to add treatment beds for mental health and detox services, launched the comprehensive 988 hotline with mobile response teams, broken ground on a new adult and adolescent psychiatric hospital, and now we’re opening a place to help steer people back to independent living. This is a lot of progress and still just the beginning.”
The 28-bed Adult Residential Treatment (ART) program will serve people who have significant mental health needs but are not in crisis—people who are stepping down from more acute settings and transitioning back to independent living. The facility will be staffed 24/7 by Momentum and welcome the first clients this fall.
“We know the need is there,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, a longtime advocate for the expansion of behavioral health services and chair of the County’s Health and Hospital Committee. “But I’m encouraged. We’ll soon have new facilities that help address that need, whether that’s getting beds for young people going through a crisis or giving people transitional care on their path toward independent living.”
Renovations to the existing building began in late 2022 and cost about $1.8 million. Additionally, services at the facility will cost approximately $2.8 million annually. The facility serves as a middle ground for people who no longer require the highest level of behavioral health care but have specialized needs that preclude them from living independently. They still may need nursing care and one-on-one attention, which will be available at the site at all times. They may require an extended stay at the facility, and can remain there for up to two years.
“People with serious mental health disabilities—particularly those on social security or fixed, limited incomes—face many challenges in finding a place to live,” said Sherri Terao, director of the County’s Behavioral Health Services Department. “This new treatment center is an important part of the County’s care system, allowing clients to live in the least restrictive community setting while avoiding lengthy stays in costlier inpatient psychiatric hospitals or mental health rehabilitation centers.”
In addition, the facility will provide nutritionally healthy meals to all residents; housekeeping and laundry; transportation or arrangement of transport to all medical appointments; and activities to encourage the development of self-help skills and appropriate social behaviors to promote self-sufficiency.
Residents will also receive support with activities of daily living, such as grooming and hygiene. Depending on their clinical needs, people can receive services for up to two years.
The new program is located at 650 S. Bascom Ave. in San José, across the street from Valley Medical Center, the County’s Emergency Psychiatric Services, and Barbara Arons Pavilion (the County’s inpatient psychiatric facility).
Lee said he was very pleased that the project was finished and ready to open its doors to community members in need of a step-down residential mental health care.
“When I got involved in this project at the end of last year, there were still a number of hurdles in the way of opening day,” Lee said. “But I knew that this type of facility was needed as fast as possible, and by working closely with the County’s Health and Hospital System, we were able to expedite the process and bring this vital project to completion.”
State Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San José) called the County of Santa Clara a leader when it comes to addressing the mental health crisis.
“With recent state and local investments, the County is now beginning to move into a continuum of care that helps people at every stage of their treatment process,” Cortese said. “The new 28-bed Adult Residential Treatment program is an excellent step for patients needing intensive services. It will expand sorely needed behavioral health capacity in our community.”