Moving Forward Together


Sep 8 2022

Voice of San Diego

Unlike the more widely known universal basic income proposal, the guaranteed income program being tested here offers no-strings-attached cash transfers to families based on trust. Households can spend the money on whatever they want rather than abide by strict and often invasive rules. “Guaranteed income programs are happening now and they’re fast and helping people in need … by filling in gaps with existing social safety net programs,” said Chris Olsen, chief of staff at Jewish Family Service. “The one doesn’t negate the need for the other.”

Sep 1 2022


U.S. Senator Alex Padilla visited the San Diego border region Wednesday to learn how the federal government can support the humanitarian efforts of local advocates. During a meeting with members of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, advocates asked Padilla to help them restore the asylum system, stop the militarization of the border, expand access to Friendship Park and adopt a more welcoming approach to new migrants. “The border is much more than a headline, it’s people’s lives that are impacted every single day on both sides of the border,” said Kate Clark, director of immigrant services at Jewish Family Service.

Aug 31 2022

NBC 7 San Diego

Immigrant rights advocates met with Democratic Senator Alex Padilla at the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego on Wednesday to give him a sense of what’s happening on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border.
They’re applauding the end of the so-called Remain in Mexico policy, but say migrants are still in danger because they’re not being processed fast enough.

Aug 27 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

In this Visual Storytelling feature, we meet Omer Khan who narrowly fled Afghanistan as the Taliban took over one year ago. Now he’s creating a new body of work in San Diego, but can’t shake the images from his home. Jewish Family Service helped him find an apartment and access services.

Aug 20 2022

NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego’s first guaranteed income program is a few months in, and it is already making a difference in many lives. One hundred and fifty families are receiving $500 a month with no strings attached. The families chosen for the guaranteed income program come from four specific neighborhoods: Encanto, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and National City. All the families have a child under the age of 12 in the home. San Diego’s guaranteed income project began distributing payments in March and is being administered by the local non-profit, Jewish Family Service.

Aug 16 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

A Salvadoran mother was separated from her children at the border earlier this year in a case that legal advocates say illustrates the way border policies continue to cause trauma under the Biden administration. Lucy, who is not being fully identified because of family members still in danger, said that a Border Patrol agent attacked her when she was apprehended in the Imperial Valley desert. But the agent instead claimed she had assaulted him, and he pushed for a felony prosecution. Because she was being charged with a crime, she was separated from her children. Though the prosecutor later dropped the charges against her, it was too late for Lucy and her family — they had already been split apart.

Aug 14 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

One to three people per day are being removed from Migrant Protection Protocols or MPP which required asylum seekers to wait in Tijuana for their U.S. immigration court cases. The MPP enrollees cross the border and end up at the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, where they are tested for COVID-19 before getting help traveling to their final destinations around the country.

Jul 23 2022

Central Recorder

Each year, thousands of migrants cross the border to Mexico each year in hopes of crossing. The U.S. courts have maintained the majority of Trump’s intensified border policies since March 2020. Contrary to Biden’s campaign promises, little has changed since his inauguration in January 2021, and some anti-immigration programs have been expanded under his watch. And despite a June 30 ruling by the Supreme Court in favor of reversing one of these policies forcing migrants awaiting asylum hearings to stay in Mexico, the White House’s ongoing implementation of others means the court’s decision is, for the time being, little more than symbolic. Border towns like Matamoros, Reynosa, and Ciudad Juárez — which are overrun by ubiquitous and particularly ruthless gangs — can be perilous places for anyone, let alone those who have fled their homelands carrying little more than a backpack. This is particularly true for pregnant women.

Jul 4 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego City Council last week unanimously agreed to fund 24-hour operations at an 86-space parking lot in Mission Valley operated by Jewish Family Service for homeless people living in vehicles. San Diego City Council members heard highlights of a two-year study on the three lots conducted by UC San Diego’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Stacey Livingstone, a UC San Diego doctoral candidate in sociology who worked on the study, told council members that 180 people were interviewed in the study, and it was resoundingly clear that a 24-hour safe parking lot was desired.

Jul 2 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Migrants apprehended by Border Patrol are much more likely to be children than they were roughly a decade ago. In late 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing the increasing arrival of families, stopped assisting with travel plans for families released from immigration custody after being apprehended. That change led to the establishment of the San Diego Rapid Response Migrant Shelter on the San Diego side of the border.Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services with Jewish Family Service, a nonprofit that runs the shelter, said the fact that so many of the border arrivals are children should push the federal government to move away from detaining asylum seekers while they’re processed.

Jul 1 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

In her latest opinion piece for The San Diego Union-Tribune Community Voices Project, Dana Toppel, Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Family Service, addresses true essence of being American as we approach July 4th. She writes, “To be an American is to recognize that our differences, not our similarities, make us strong and beautiful.”

Jun 27 2022

NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego leaders will vote on expanding a safe parking program for unsheltered residents to stay in. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford shares more in this video.

Jun 27 2022

Times of San Diego

“I have seen firsthand how impactful the Safe Parking Program is in addressing the needs of our unsheltered individuals and families, and I am proud that one of these lots is in Mission Valley, District 7,” said City Councilman Raul Campillo. “Expansion of this program to 24 hours a day, seven days a week will allow San Diegans living out of their cars to have greater access to a safe environment with essential resources.”
Since the program began in 2018, it has served nearly 2,200 households — 650 of which have been connected directly from the program to permanent housing, shelter or family reunification.

Jun 27 2022


The San Diego City Council Monday voted to continue the city’s Safe Parking Program through June 2023 and expand hours of housing, shelter and services for San Diegans experiencing homelessness at a Mission Valley parking lot to 24 hours a day.

The program, operated under contract by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, includes the Mission Valley site and two additional locations in Kearny Mesa. The two latter lots are open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day. Mayor Todd Gloria proposed the council approve around $1.43 million to continue the program through June 30, 2023, with $440,000 going toward extending hours at the Mission Valley site.

Jun 27 2022

ABC 10 News

The San Diego City Council Monday voted to continue the city’s Safe Parking Program through June 2023 and expand hours of housing, shelter and services for San Diegans experiencing homelessness at a Mission Valley parking lot to 24 hours a day. The program, operated under contract by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, includes the Mission Valley site and two additional locations in Kearny Mesa.

Jun 24 2022

Times of San Diego

For San Diegans experiencing homelessness, Mayor Todd Gloria announced Friday he has identified the necessary funding to extend access at one of the city’s “safe parking” lots to 24 hours a day. “This is yet another example of the city taking steps to lower barriers so that more people experiencing homelessness come off the streets,” Gloria said. “Creating 24-hour access to safe parking will help folks whose work and family schedules aren’t well-aligned with the current hours of operation, enabling them to not only park in a safe place but also access supportive services and get on a path to housing.”

The city’s Safe Parking Program, operated under contract by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, includes three facilities — two in Kearny Mesa and one in Mission Valley. Currently, the lots are open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily.

Jun 17 2022

The Coast News Group

The Encinitas City Council on Wednesday unanimously granted a three-year extension of the Safe Parking Program at the city’s Community and Senior Center. The program, a homeless parking lot operated by Jewish Family Service (JFS), will run through June 30, 2025, at its current location along Oakcrest Park Drive.
The Safe Parking Program allows qualified persons to stay overnight in the designated area without being removed or ticketed by law enforcement. Individuals in the program are vetted and must agree to strict rules and guidelines to remain in the program, such as rules prohibiting the use of drugs or alcohol while staying in the lot.

Jun 16 2022


Most people who park in the lot have jobs and are homeless for the first time. Mayor Catherine Blakespear tweeted saying, she’s “proud” of the support from the council for this program, adding it’s helped 154 people in two plus years. Residents I spoke with say this is a positive step in the right direction. The Safe Parking Program will continue through June of 2025.

Jun 16 2022

Encinitas Advocate

A controversial overnight parking program for people who are living in their vehicles while they look for permanent housing has become such a success story that it’s easy to grant it a three-year contract extension, Encinitas City Council members said Wednesday, June 15.

“I see this as just a complete benefit to our city. It came at a time when we really needed it during the pandemic,” Councilmember Joe Mosca said, later adding, “This program has not faded in necessity — it has only increased in need” given the recent soaring cost of food and gasoline.

Jun 15 2022


DACA recipients marked 10th anniversary with a call for more permanent action. Includes interviews with Ana Acero, JFS Immigration Specialist, and Veronica Ayesta, JFS Lead Immigration Specialist.

Jun 15 2022


DACA recipients marked 10th anniversary with a call for more permanent action. Includes interviews with Congressman Juan Vargas, Maria Fernanda, an immigration attorney with JFS and a DACA recipient, and Josefina Espino and Cecila Silva from CSUSM’s DREAMer Resource Office.

Jun 4 2022

USA for UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency

“I never thought that I would be overseeing a shelter in close coordination with so many amazing colleagues,” says Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services at Jewish Family Service (JFS) in San Diego, California. An immigration attorney, Clark oversees JFS’s legal services providing support and education to people seeking asylum in the United States. But for the last four years, she has also played an instrumental role in building JFS’s asylum shelter network.

“As an immigration attorney, being able to take a step back and realize that legal needs are just a slice of what a person may need… it has been an incredible experience to be able to serve and assist someone who is a new arrival to our country.”

Jewish Family Service opened its shelter in 2018 and has relied on a strong collaborative relationship with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to establish protocols and implement best practices when sheltering people fleeing war, violence and persecution. “The partnership with UNHCR has been instrumental in our success,” says Clark. “Jewish Family Service was stepping into this new area of programming and… we wouldn’t be where we are today without the partnership.”

May 31 2022

San Diego Jewish World

On May 26 during “Tales from Beyond the Dugout,” the Jewish Family Service Signature Luncheon at Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry recounted not only their struggles but their paths toward recovery and healing. Strawberry described that “the brokenness that’s on the inside is so real and so deep,” and that the average observer does not know about anyone’s experience of rejection, hurt, and trauma.“It seems like you’re on an island all by yourself,” he said. “When you’ve been through dysfunction in your household, you have a tendency to go out into society and you’ll be dysfunctional too…we were injured and scarred before we ever put the uniform on.”

May 29 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

In this series of op-eds about providing vital humanitarian services and creating a community that welcomes the stranger with dignity, Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, outlines how the community has come together to “prioritize public health while welcoming vulnerable individuals,” and how are efforts in San Diego is “now serving as a national model.”

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