Moving Forward Together


Jan 18 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jewish Family Service’s Safe Parking Program is relocating to the Encinitas Community & Senior Center during the week of January 25. Funded by state grant money, JFS’s homeless parking lot program seeks to help what organizers often describe as a community’s “invisible homeless population” — people who have recently become homeless and are living in their vehicles on a temporary basis. The goal is to provide them with a helping hand and keep them from spiraling downward into a permanent homeless state, organizers have said.

Dec 25 2021


Esta familia salió huyendo de Michoacán, México, donde su vida corría peligro. Inicialmente tenían planeado cruzar la frontera el 1 de diciembre, pero el nacimiento de la hija de Yunuen se adelantó; sin embargo, su cita para solicitar asilo fue reprogramada y ahora permanecerán en un albergue en Estados Unidos hasta que se cumpla la nueva fecha para acudir ante un juez a presentar su caso. Más noticias aquí.

Dec 24 2021

Times of San Diego

Jewish Family Service of San Diego announced it would begin offering free rides to local seniors who want to receive COVID- 19 vaccine booster shots or the original vaccine. Rides are provided through their On the Go transportation program. “With the CDC’s recent recommendation about booster shots for seniors, we want people to know that we stand at the ready to provide free rides for seniors who want a booster shot or still need the initial vaccine,” CEO Michael Hopkins said.

Dec 23 2021


In November, San Diego sector stood as the sixth busiest of the border’s nine regional crossing points. Almost 18,000 migrants were encountered here during the same month. Concerns over rising rates of COVID-19 in Baja California and the new threat of the Omicron variant have pushed shelters to take greater precautions to keep their clients and staff safe, Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services & Lead Immigration Attorney at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, told Newsweek.

Dec 23 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

In this opinion piece by Dana Toppel, Chief Operating Officer, she stresses that this New Year must have a resolution of not returning to what wasn’t working, especially when we know a better way is possible.

Dec 22 2021

San Diego Jewish World

Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) is offering free rides to local seniors who want to receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots – or the original vaccine – as part of the agency’s continued efforts to provide meaningful services to help San Diegans through pandemic challenges.

Dec 10 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

An immigrant from Albania, she now helps others settle in the U.S. Etleva Bejko, JFS’s Director of Refugee & Immigration Services, is profiled in this article in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Dec 8 2021

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt

The controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy requires asylum seekers to stay across the border while their cases are processed. The Biden administration insists it wants to end the policy but a court order is forcing the Department of Homeland Security to restart it. Kate Clark, JFS Sr. Director of Immigration Services is interviewed.

Dec 3 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Biden administration will restart the “Remain in Mexico” program, which obligates asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their immigration court cases unfold, as soon as next Monday, according to an announcement Thursday from the federal government. Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services, details why “Remain in Mexico” is inhumane and should be terminated as soon as possible.

Nov 30 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

“No strings attached is really straightforward: When folks get the money, they choose what they want to spend it on,” said Khea Pollard, director of San Diego for Every Child, the coalition spearheading the program.

San Diego for Every Child launched in January 2020 and aims to reduce child poverty by 50 percent over the next decade. The coalition, founded by Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-San Diego, and housed under the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, consists of youth advocates, community leaders and agencies such as the Center on Policy Initiatives, the YMCA Childcare Resource Services of San Diego County and the Parent Institute for Quality Education.

Nov 30 2021


CEO Michael Hopkins appeared on CBS morning news to discuss the impact of Jewish Family Service in the San Diego community.

Nov 29 2021


Waiting in Mexican border cities is not only dangerous, she says, but makes it almost impossible to find legal representation in the United States. Only 7% of MPP asylum seekers had a lawyer, contributing to less than 1% of migrants actually winning their asylum cases while enrolled in Remain in Mexico. By contrast, closer to a third of asylum seekers overall won their cases during the same period. Lawyers in San Diego say they’ve been told by federal officials that immigration judges have been designated and courtrooms have already been set aside.Kate Clark, the lead immigration attorney with Jewish Family Service of San Diego, says the resumption of a program they oppose leaves legal service providers in a difficult spot.

Nov 25 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jewish Family Service’s Giving Tuesday 2x match is featured. In addition, a spotlight is placed on volunteering including JFS volunteer Shelley Miller-Odelson, who is in her sixth year of volunteering in JFS food-distribution programs. She says, “And you realize after a while that you have to do this. You have to help people. What meaning is there in life if you can’t be good to other people?”

Oct 20 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The action is the latest in countywide efforts to increase emergency services for people living outdoors. Jewish Family Service of San Diego called in to the meeting to show support. The organization runs four Safe Parking lots for homeless people in San Diego and Encinitas.

Oct 11 2021

San Diego Jewish Journal

In this cover story, CEO Michael Hopkins discusses the importance of launching the Center for Jewish Care when so many Jewish people in our community need critical support as a result of the pandemic. “For the longest time, people thought we only served the Jewish community and then it seemed in most recent history that we only serve everyone else but the Jewish community. With the introduction of the Center for Jewish Care with its own direct contact information, own brand, and its own dedicated staff, it’s not one population or the other. We serve the whole community and we serve the Jewish community. The Center for Jewish Care is our way of clearly communicating the importance of serving the Jewish community and how it is foundational to our purpose.”

Oct 11 2021


NBC 7 Investigates dug through law enforcement records to find out if there’s a connection between Safe Parking Program locations and crime. The facts do not reflect the exaggerated claims of critics.
At the current location in Encinitas on Saxony Road, deputies have responded three times over the past 18 months. One of those was for a noise complaint, and the two others were requests for extra patrols. At the other three locations run by Jewish Family Service, there were a total of 39 calls to police over the past two years, but only three of those ended with officers taking some kind of action.

Oct 8 2021

Times of San Diego

Jewish Family Service of San Diego, one of the community’s largest social service nonprofits, is holding a job fair to fill 50 open positions. The job fair will be held at the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus located at 8804 Balboa Avenue. Attendees are encouraged to bring copies of their resume or contact information. To view open positions, visit

Oct 4 2021

10 News San Diego

A new survey found 44% of unvaccinated Americans say they’re willing to get the COVID-19 shot, but they all have reasons for their hesitancy. Experts say lack of transportation is one issue they hear most often and one of the easiest to solve.

Sep 30 2021

CBS 8, 10 News, The San Diego Union-Tribune/Encinitas Advocate, Fox 5

In a 3-2 vote, the Encinitas council backed the Safe Parking Program relocation proposal. The program is to move from the Leichtag Foundation property to the lower parking lot of the city’s Community and Senior Center property. Jewish Family Service Chief of Staff Chris Olsen told the council that the program has helped 43 households find housing since it began and continues to help those temporarily living in their vehicles.

Sep 13 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thank you to Susan Davis, who represented the 53rd District in Congress from 2001-2020, for this op-ed. She writes, “Many San Diegans have worked hard to support refugees in our community for many decades and have their own immigrant stories. People are asking, how can I help? The most important thing we all can do is to acknowledge newcomers, respect their culture, celebrate the gifts they bring, and offer them support as they navigate a long and difficult path to find their footing and new opportunities.”

Sep 3 2021


Immigration attorneys whose practices shifted when President Joe Biden rescinded the “Remain in Mexico” program are experiencing whiplash after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to be reinstated. Kate Clark, the director of immigration services at the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, told Law360 that “reinstatement is certainly not something we ever thought was going to be within the realm of possibilities”. In the weeks since, Clark says her organization has redoubled its advocacy efforts, calling on congressional representatives and the White House to stand in opposition to the policy.

Sep 2 2021

ACLU magazine

Shortly after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties launched a network to provide humanitarian and legal aid to asylum seekers. The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) quickly became California’s first responder for immigrants seeking safe haven. Created in December 2017, SDRRN is a unique ecosystem of immigrants’ rights groups, social service organizations, and volunteers dedicated to supporting immigrants, asylum seekers, and their families. The extensive regional coalition involves more than 40 partners working to provide refuge and transitional support to tens of thousands of asylum seekers and immigrants, while minimizing the devastating effects of abusive immigration enforcement, family separation, and deportation. The Fall 2021 issue of ACLU Magazine features an inside look at the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties’ work alongside Jewish Family Service of San Diego to provide safe haven for asylum seekers.

Aug 31 2021

The Wall Street Journal

Refugee resettlement organizations across the U.S. are gearing up to resettle tens of thousands of newly arriving Afghans, many of whom are arriving with uncertain immigration statuses and little other than the clothing on their backs. Aid groups are now routinely being alerted about impending arrivals with about 24-hours’ notice, instead of days or weeks under normal circumstances, according to Etleva Bejko, director of refugee and immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

Aug 30 2021

Border Report

With the Supreme Court ruling requiring the Biden’s Administration to revive MPP, San Diego advocates are already concerned Remain in Mexico’s reinstatement will force more migrants into dangerous living conditions. Jewish Family Services described Remain in Mexico as a “cruel and inhumane program.” They further explained, “over the last two years, we have seen firsthand the mental and physical toll the policy places on those traumatized by the violence and persecution they have fled from in their home countries.”

Aug 28 2021

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Supreme Court ordered the Biden administration to follow a Texas judge’s ruling to restart Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols. Many migrants are already being returned to Mexico under Title 42. Luis Gonzalez, Immigration Attorney of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, called the ruling “bittersweet” because he knew Jewish Family Service had managed to help 37 more asylum seekers get processed into the United States before the Supreme Court order was announced. However, he knew there were thousands more still stuck outside the United States — including some of his clients — who now might have to wait much longer in dangerous conditions.

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