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Moving Forward Together


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.”

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, Dr. Linda Hill, a Distinguished Professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, and the director of the UC San Diego-San Diego State University General Preventive Medicine Residency, describes how Title 42 “prevents thousands of migrants of color whose nations of origin are primarily South and Central American countries — from seeking their human right to asylum, while those from predominantly white countries are allowed in without question.”

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, Amy Blum and her daughter, Josie Zubkoff, who are volunteers at the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, emotionally tell the negative impact of Title 42, “ [While we were…] Forced to pause our volunteer efforts, we often thought about the faces of relief we would see in the shelter and the contrast to the the emotions families must be feeling on the other side of the border.”

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, Norma Chavez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, urges the “Biden administration must loudly defend the CDC’s decision to lift Title 42 in the court and the court of public opinion.”

May 23 2022

Ms. Magazine

We need to think smarter about how we invest in our social programs. In this article from Ms. Magazine, Chief Operating Officer at JFS and Chair of San Diego for Every Child, shares her thoughts about ending childhood poverty and how we can help. “Investing in children and families earlier has huge cost savings from the upstream effects it has on ensuring children have access to resources in their early years.”
Learn more about guaranteed income >>

May 22 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Life as an asylum seeker can change in an instant. Ceidy Zethare was in a Tijuana laundromat when she found out she would be entering the United States the next day. In this moving story of Ceidy’s journey, we follow Ceidy as she enters the United States and is taken to a hotel used by the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

May 18 2022

San Diego Jewish World

At Jewish Family Service’s Heart & Soul Gala, JFS celebrated the contributions of its 2022 Mitzvah Honorees: former JFS board member Marcia Hazan, and Danielle and Brian Miller of Geppetto’s toy store. Read more about 2022 Mitzvah Honorees here.

May 18 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Jewish Family Service of San Diego held its annual Heart & Soul Gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine on April 30. The Gala raises funds to support JFS’s effort to provide resources and support to San Diegans of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds.

May 12 2022

Mother Jones

Their preparations are moving forward even as a federal judge is expected to rule—perhaps as soon as the end of the week—on whether Title 42 will actually end as scheduled. If the judge doesn’t intervene and the policy is lifted as planned on May 23, it would not constitute a new asylum policy; rather the shift would bring things back to pre-pandemic operations for asylum seekers at the border. “We anxiously await and are eagerly preparing for the full termination of Title 42,” says Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, a group that has been instrumental in assisting asylum seekers for years. Kate Clark’s interview continues and there are additional statements by members of the California Welcoming Task Force.

May 10 2022

La Jolla Light

Jewish Family Service of San Diego presented its annual “Heart & Soul” gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine hotel on April 30. Click here to see event photos.

May 2 2022

Fast Company

Direct cash pilots often expire without building grassroots support for the program. This new framework aims to energize voters and turn them into advocates. Khea Pollard, director of San Diego For Every Child, discusses the role Income Movement has had in the launch of our program.

Apr 25 2022

NBC 7 San Diego

Mayor Gloria recently visited Jewish Family Service’s Safe Parking Program. There he met Rudy Sanchez and his wife Maria Carmen who used the lot for 9 months before returning to stable housing, a low-rent apartment subsidized by the Section 8 voucher program. “When I see people in their cars, I tell them to go to the Jewish Family Service right there on Balboa. They are great people and they will help you,” said Sanchez.

Apr 21 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

In her latest opinion piece for The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dana Toppel, Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Family Service and founder of MAKE WORK WORK FOR MOMS, addresses the pandemic statistic that millions of women have been driven out of the workforce due to disproportionately taking on more caregiver and domestic responsibilities. She sits down with Reshma Saujani, founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms, to discuss three things we can do now to show up for working moms.

Apr 15 2022

The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Jewish Family Service of San Diego’s Center for Jewish Care delivered 600 Seder packages, filled with traditional food items such as matzoh, grape juice and Gefilte fish, and 360 kosher Passover meals to seniors ahead of the holiday. Each package also contained handwritten cards and Haggadahs, which tell the story of Passover. The center was launched recently to offer services to support the Jewish community, such as its year-round home-delivered meal program for homebound seniors. This year, more than double the number of meals were delivered for Passover, with help from donations from the San Diego Jewish Academy, Shevet Galim Israel Scouts of San Diego and Congregation Beth El.

Apr 12 2022


Jewish Family Service is featured in this list of ways to give back in San Diego for it’s volunteer opportunities helping to deliver meals to isolated older adults. If you have a couple hours during the week, you too can help deliver nutritious meals to older and disabled adults.

Apr 12 2022

San Diego Jewish World

As the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its eighth week and intensifies, the resulting refugee crisis has become the fastest-moving exodus of European civilians since World War II. Jewish Family Service of San Diego, along with the San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) Migrant Shelter Services, is helping hundreds of asylum-seeking Ukrainian families who have made their way to San Diego.

Apr 7 2022

Los Angeles Times

Thousands of refugees who have left Afghanistan since summer are celebrating Ramadan in the U.S. Some are marking the holiday from their new apartments, others from hotel rooms, as resettlement organizations struggle to find them permanent housing in an expensive market. Etleva Bejko, director of refugee and immigration services for Jewish Family Service of San Diego, said the biggest challenge for resettlement agencies has been finding housing for refugees.“There has been a shortage of rental units available,” Bejko said. “It’s not an Afghan evacuee issue; it’s not a refugee issue; it’s a California issue.”

Apr 6 2022


The City encourages anyone experiencing homelessness and living out of their vehicle to use one of the free Safe Parking Program lots operated by Jewish Family Service, where they can also access resources such as shelter, housing, employment, and other wraparound supportive services.

Apr 1 2022


For weeks, drivers have felt a pinch at the pump and this burden is taking its toll on non-profits trying to help people facing food insecurity. Jewish Family Service of San Diego has seen the demand for food climb with a 20% increase in need from the community over the past few months.

“For a lot of people this is their first time coming out and asking for food and that’s really in response to the increased gas prices and increased cost of living,” said Kristine Stensberg, the Senior Director of Nutrition and Aging for Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

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