JFS Migrant Family Shelter History
November 2018 – June 2020
In October 2018, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) abruptly ended a program known as “Safe Release,” which helped asylum-seekers connect with friends and family in the U.S. as they waited for their court date. Abandoned on the streets of downtown San Diego, migrant families were now left vulnerable to crime and risked straining County resources by adding to our expanding homeless population. The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) filled this critical gap in government assistance by opening temporary shelters in local churches. By mid-November 2019, ICE began coordinating with the SDRRN to drop-off migrant families at our shelter each afternoon once they had been legally processed.
Through these collaborative efforts with the SDRRN, the JFS Migrant Family Shelter was established and has kept thousands of migrant families off San Diego’s streets, ensuring they did not further strain the capacities of service providers who were assisting the region’s ever-growing homeless population.
Between October 2018 and June 2020, the shelter served more than 23,000 asylum seekers – all family units – and provided beds, food, clothing, health services, legal aid, and transportation assistance to help families connect with loved ones across the country as they continued their legal process to gain asylum.
Starting in June 2020, services for asylum seekers released by the government transitioned from a congregate shelter space to individual hotel rooms by JFS as part of the services it offers under the San Diego Rapid Response Network. We will continue to prioritize the needs of asylum seekers through targeted transition services and legal assistance, ensuring that No One Stands Alone In Our Community.