May 15, 2024
  • Newsom Cordilleras
    Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, tours the Cordilleras Health and Healing Campus with (left) Jei Africa, director of the County's Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, and (right) Mike Callagy, the County executive.

    Redwood City – Gavin Newsom on Tuesday commended County officials for an ambitious project that reflects the governor’s twin priorities: improving mental health treatment and combatting the homelessness crisis.

    “San Mateo (County) has stepped up,” Newsom said after touring the Cordilleras Health and Healing Campus, which will replace an Eisenhower-era concrete mental health treatment hospital. “Now it’s time for other counties to do the same.”

    Newsom selected Cordilleras as the backdrop for announcing the state is accelerating the first round of funding, made available by Prop. 1, to boost California’s transformation of the statewide behavioral health system.

    That transformation is unfolding between San Carlos and Redwood City, where the new Cordilleras campus is rising amid rolling hills, oak trees and chirping birds. It will provide locked treatment areas for the most vulnerable patients in small-homelike settings, along with adult residential care focusing on behavioral health rehabilitation and recovery.

    “We never have been and we never will be about the brick and mortar. It is about people, our clients and serving them in a dignified and respectful way. And this is what we will be doing in these buildings,” Mike Callagy, the County’s chief executive officer, said during a news conference with Newsom.

    Key to the County’s system of inpatient and outpatient treatment centers that address mental health needs and keep the most vulnerable residents off the streets, the campus replaces a facility first opened as a tuberculosis hospital in the 1950s.

    By 1978, the building was rededicated to mental health treatment thanks to the efforts of local family members of people with mental illness, who were the founders of the organization that eventually became NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    The new Health and Healing campus reflects fresh thinking in how surroundings affect mental health. When it opens later this year, the campus will include a total of 121 beds arrayed in smaller living units with windows that provide landscape views and outdoor areas that offer fresh air and sunlight.

    The current buildings will be torn down to make way for open spaces.

    In selecting Cordilleras for Tuesday’s news conference, the governor’s office said, “Treatment centers and campuses like the one highlighted today will be possible all across the state” due to the passing of Prop. 1 on the March 2024 ballot.

    “Prop. 1 and the vision the governor outlined affirm the hard work, dedication and commitment of a generation of San Mateo County leaders and community members and their tireless advocacy for mental health care services. It’s their legacy we are building on,” said Jei Africa, director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.

    Additionally, Newsom announced the launch of, a one-stop website for people seeking mental health resources available to Californians. This will help Californians see how their own county government is using the tools and resources already available to them.

    “Prop. 1 encourages counties to be ambitious about behavioral health care services and to address the root causes of the many challenges our communities face,” Callagy said. “And now we can dream bigger.”

    Media Contact

    Preston Merchant
    Communications Officer
    San Mateo County Health