Moving Forward Together


Apr 26 2023

Fox 5

JFS’s new Safe Parking Lot is getting ready to open in Rose Canyon. Twelve camper trailers will be available for families experiencing homelessness, along with fifteen spaces for people sleeping in their cars. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is calling on other cities to expand services. ”There’s nothing magical about this parking lot,” he said. “Every city in this county has one. Consider whether or not you can actually make space for the people who are homeless in your city and actually provide services to them.”

Apr 26 2023


JFS is opening another 24-hour Safe Parking Lot in Rose Canyon, with a dozen trailers provided by the City of San Diego, along with 15 other parking spaces. Families with young children will be given priority for the trailers. “Our goal is to have a program available that meets the needs of every unhoused person that our outreach workers encounter,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. JFS will operate the site, and provide meaningful resources and tools to help people experiencing homelessness stabilize and transition back into permanent housing.

Apr 26 2023

ABC 10

A dozen families experiencing homelessness will be moving into trailers in JFS’s new 24-hour Safe Parking lot in Clairemont. The services don’t stop there, as during their stay, each family will also be connected to resources, from housing and employment assistance to financial education. The effort is all part of the new Rose Canyon Safe Parking lot, under the city’s Safe Parking Program. The lots will operate 24 hours a day, providing a safe space for those experiencing homelessness, allowing residents to sleep in their cars overnight. There will be a total of 15 spaces.

Apr 26 2023

Times of San Diego

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced the opening of the new Rose Canyon Safe Parking lot, which will be operated by JFS. The lot will operate 24 hours a day and provide a safe place for unhoused residents to sleep overnight in their vehicles, with access to resources to help participants on their path to housing, including employment assistance, credit repair, financial education and more. In addition to providing 15 spaces for parking, the site includes 12 camper trailers for families to live in as they work to end their homelessness. The trailers are equipped with beds, showers and bathrooms.

Apr 26 2023


The City of San Diego is opening a new 24-hour Safe Parking lot in Rose Canyon, which will be operated by JFS. The Clairemont lot includes a dozen camper trailers earmarked for families with children, along with 15 other parking spaces for people living in their cars. JFS operates all of the City’s Safe Parking lots and connects participants with services to help them transition back into stable housing. JFS’s CEO Michael Hopkins joined San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria at the opening, and said that the Safe Parking Program “has assisted more than 3,000 individuals since we began operation in January of 2018.” The new lot is part of the City’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness.

Apr 17 2023

San Diego Jewish World

Some Survivors who settled in San Diego were able to form a thriving social network, called the New Life Club. Others remain so poor that they are currently enduring a hand-to-mouth existence. Both JFS – through the Center for Jewish Care – and the Jewish Federation are reaching out to elderly Jews in need of help with special programs to assure their comfort and well-being.

Apr 13 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

JFS welcomed former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and “End Poverty in California” for a convening on ending poverty with leaders in government and philanthropy. Together, we discussed developing public-private partnerships for economic security, with a focus on housing, healthcare, and direct cash. The session was organized and hosted by JFS, and moderated by Tubbs and Khea Pollard, JFS’s Director of Economic Mobility and Opportunity.

Apr 12 2023

Border Report

JFS is condemning President Joe Biden’s new expedited asylum plan for migrants at the southern border as “inexcusable and horrific.” The policy is a revival of two Trump-era policies known as Prompt Asylum Claim Review (PACR) and Humanitarian Asylum Review Process (HARP). Under the new plan, I.C.E. officers will screen migrants in custody, instead of Border Patrol agents. JFS says the plan will require migrants “to be detained in horrific conditions that no one, especially vulnerable populations fleeing from violence and persecution, should ever have to experience.” JFS cites “freezing temperatures, contaminated drinking water, and lack of food — conditions that have yet to improve, despite Biden Administration promises.”

Apr 10 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

JFS’s College Avenue Center has resumed its weekday schedule of socialization, educational programming, and nutrition for older adults at Temple Emanu-El, a Synagogue in Del Cerro. The center had been on hiatus for three years, and community members are happy to re-engage with friends. “As the pandemic changed,” said Kristine Stensberg, JFS senior director of Aging Service, “we heard daily from older adults how much they missed the community connection at the center.” The center offers a variety of programming including exercise classes, educational programming, and music appreciation along with a hot, healthy lunch planned by JFS’s dietician. Some participants use JFS’s free On the Go transportation to travel back and forth to the popular center. View the page in the print edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Apr 1 2023

L'Chaim Magazine

Retired Sheriff’s Commander Dave Myers has been named director of safety and security for Jewish Family Service of San Diego and will oversee security protocols for all JFS programs and services. “The safety of our community has always been a top priority,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins. With more than 35 years in law enforcement, Myers worked his way up the ranks from patrol deputy to Commander and ran for San Diego County Sheriff in 2018. Myers has received multiple awards, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Gold Award. He established the Sheriff’s Department Youth Advisory Group, was board president of Barrio Logan’s YES Program, and was twice elected chairman of the board of the San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association. Story on page 28.

Mar 28 2023

The New York Times

The Biden administration’s tough new border policies have created a dangerous bottleneck in border towns, with Mexican shelters reporting massive overcrowding and increasingly desperate conditions involving tens of thousands of people. The policies have sharply reduced the number of migrants crossing into the U.S. “The number of people in our care has been halved since the start of the year,” said Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services for Jewish Family Service of San Diego, which operates the SDRRN migrant shelter.

Mar 27 2023

San Diego Business Journal (SDBJ)

The San Diego Business Journal has named JFS CFO Bernadette Griggs as the 2023 CFO of the Year in the Nonprofit Organization category. Since joining JFS in 2018, Briggs has played a pivotal role in helping JFS adapt, revise, and expand services to provide critical assistance to our community.

Mar 22 2023

eJewish Philanthropy

One in five American Jewish households are financially insecure, according to a statistic quoted by Rachel Sumekh at a recent Jewish Funders Network conference. Sumekh is the new project executive for JFN’s National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty and is working to increase education around Jewish poverty and mobilize JFN’s members to address it. In addition to deepening education for funders, Sumekh says the affinity group is “also working to lift up the work of the amazing community organizations,” including Jewish Family Service. In San Diego, JFS has partnered with San Diego for Every Child to launch the region’s first guaranteed income project, with the goal of significantly reducing the experience of child poverty and lifting families out of poverty. “I think there’s a really important moment in time right now,” Sumekh said, “for us to really raise the people’s recognition of how much people are barely making it day by day.”

Mar 17 2023

East County Magazine

A federal court has largely denied the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought JFS and the Immigrant Defenders Law Center on behalf of thousands of asylum seekers who have been stranded outside the United States because of the “Remain in Mexico” program. JFS is praising the judge’s decision. “Asylum seekers should have access to protection in the U.S.,” says Luis Gonzales, JFS Directing Attorney for Immigration Defense, “instead of being left in perilous situations across the border when they are already fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. We must get back to centering humanity.”

Mar 5 2023

Times of San Diego

The Senior Gleaners of San Diego County is looking for volunteers to help harvest unwanted citrus fruit from thousands of local trees. The fruit, which would otherwise go wasted, is sent to a network of nonprofits that feed thousands of people. “We are almost through with the tangerines, now come the lemons and oranges,” said Margaret Burton, president of the group.

Feb 23 2023

Times of San Diego

The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN), a coalition of humanitarian organizations led by Jewish Family Service, is condemning a new Biden Administration proposal that will deport asylum seekers who enter the country illegally, or who did not first seek protection in the countries they passed through. “What the administration has announced today is essentially an asylum ban — a reprehensible step backwards,” the coalition said. “Asylum seekers are not the enemy; our broken immigration system is.”

Feb 20 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The State of California will begin phasing out financial support for migrant medical screening centers including the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services, which is operated by Jewish Family Service. The shelters provide medical screenings, along with COVID testing and vaccinations for migrants seeking asylum. Governor Gavin Newsom says the state can no longer afford to contribute and that he is lobbying the Biden administration to increase aid. “We’re continuing our operations and again calling on all levels of government to make sure that there is an investment,” says Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services for Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

Feb 18 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The film “Seeking Asylum: A Mother’s Journey” is available on Amazon, iTunes and other platforms beginning Feb. 21. As Kate Morrissey reports, filmmakers Rae Ceretto and Kelly Scott initially had to call JFS’s immigration attorneys for guidance in order to understand the complexities of the case. JFS attorneys subsequently decided to represent the woman, who was obligated to stay in Mexico while her case was making its way through the courts, but was released in America when the border was closed by the pandemic.

Feb 7 2023

FOX 5, ABC 10 News, Times of San Diego, Border News, Voice of San Diego

In a unanimous vote, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a comprehensive plan sponsored by Chairwoman Nora Vargas and Supervisor Joel Anderson to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees have access to the resources they need if federal enforcement of Title 42 is ended. The Rapid Response Network, operated by JFS, has welcomed 125,000 asylum seekers since 2018. “Let’s put politics aside,” JFS CEO Michael Hopkins told the Supervisors, “and get back to what matters: Treating people with dignity and humanity.”

Feb 6 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Ashley Frez-Clark, director of the SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service, says government officials need to create solutions to support asylum seekers in the US. “The immigration system and its policies for seeking asylum continue to change,” she says, “without consideration of the impact on those needing asylum and the legal and humanitarian organizations supporting them.”

Feb 6 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

JFS’ directing attorney for immigrant legal defense and cross-border projects Luis Gonzales provides pro-bono legal representation for asylum-seekers, many of whom have stories he calls heartbreaking and horrifying. He criticizes the politicization of immigration courts, saying “It is a shameful time for a country that’s entire foundation is rooted in immigration, welcoming and diversity.”

Feb 5 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Two local leaders on the Steering Committee of the San Diego Rapid Response Network are urging the County Board of Supervisors to support a proposal to provide needed resources for asylum seekers and refugees. Norma Chávez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and David Garcias, the former president of SEIU Local 221, are urging the Board of Supervisors to support the bipartisan response plan – sponsored by Supervisors Nora Vargas (a Democrat) and Joel Anderson (a Republican) – at the meeting on Tuesday, February 7.

Feb 3 2023

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Monica Garcia describes her ordeal fleeing her hometown of Colima, Mexico to escape her gun-obsessed husband’s violent attacks and death threats. Monica and her four children are being represented by Luis Gonzales, JFS directing attorney for immigrant legal defense and cross-border projects, and are living in temporary housing in San Diego.

Jan 25 2023

San Diego Jewish World

JFS CEO Michael Hopkins, along with several other members of the San Diego Jewish community, testified in front of The San Diego County Board of Supervisors as they considered a proposal to provide a venue for a Holocaust exhibit focusing on Survivors who have settled in San Diego County. Hopkins stated that JFS staff “compassionately cares for Holocaust Survivors throughout San Diego to assure that they age with dignity and with their health, independence and connection to our community.” He noted the growing number of antisemitic incidents throughout the country, saying many Survivors now face challenges that can trigger memories of traumatic experiences. He expressed the hope that the Holocaust Remembrance exhibit will “bring attention to what can happen when antisemitism goes unchecked.” The Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the exhibit, and to provide $25,000 in funding. The proposal was introduced by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who called the exhibit “a commitment of us to stand against Holocaust denial and to stand against the spread of hate speech and disinformation.”

Jan 24 2023

Times of San Diego

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of a Holocaust remembrance exhibit on county property Tuesday. Supervisors directed Helen Robbins-Meyer, chief administrative officer, to work with the Jewish Federation of San Diego on finding a location for the exhibit. Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Services, said his organization “compassionately cares for Holocaust survivors,” who lived through one of the darkest periods in human history. He added that “lessons of recent years have taught us that it’s not enough to react — if we are not proactive against these forces that hurt and harm, they will continue to injure and even become deadly.”

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