Moving Forward Together

Respite Shelter Assistance

No One Stands Alone in Our Community

SDRRN Immigrant COVID-19 Financial Assistance Fund

Many immigrants in the San Diego border region have been significantly impacted by the devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Yet these working families are ineligible for unemployment benefits, disaster relief funds, Payroll Protection Programs, rental assistance, or food stamps due to their legal status. The SDRRN Immigrant COVID-19 Financial Assistance Fund helps to fill the gap. Until October 31, Price Philanthropies will match contributions up to $100,000 to the SDRRN Immigrant COVID-19 Financial Assistance Fund.

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Welcoming the stranger.

Jewish Family Service provides robust immigration legal services in addition to humanitarian and respite shelter for asylum seekers who have been released into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. Since our founding in 1918, JFS has been committed to Welcoming the Stranger–we’ve assisted and connected thousands of refugees to housing, employment, and education. We know this work is essential to ensuring San Diego is a more humane, prosperous, and beautifully diverse place to live.

To view news stories about our shelter, please visit our Newsroom.

For more information visit the San Diego Rapid Response Network website at

Asylum Seeker Transition Services

Based on the current COVID-19 pandemic, asylum seekers released by the government will stay in individual hotel rooms for their short stay instead of joining other families in a congregant living setting at a shelter. In partnership with the San Diego Rapid Response Network, JFS will continue to provide case management, travel assistance, nutrition services, medical screenings, and financial support for migrant families.

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.

On October 1, 2019, we marked the one-year anniversary of the JFS Migrant Family Shelter. Take a look back at this incredible community effort to help asylum-seekers on their journey toward a better life.

At our 2019 Heart & Soul Gala, we honored the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties as one of our core partners in the SDRRN. Take a look at our tribute video to learn more about SDRRN, see how the JFS Migrant Family Shelter was started, and hear first-hand stories from asylum-seekers.


Watch Video

Legal Assistance

JFS continues to provide high-quality pro bono immigration legal services in the following areas:

  • Asylum seekers forcibly returned to Mexico under the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (known as “Remain in Mexico”)
  • Detained/Non-Detained Removal Defense
  • Affirmative Immigration Services (primary areas of focus):
    • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    • Adjustment of Status
    • Family Reunification
    • Naturalization/Citizenship
  • Emergency response to immigration enforcement via activations from the San Diego Rapid Response Networkemergency hotline

Immigration Emergency Hotline: If you or someone you know is experiencing an immigration emergency (raid, arrest, checkpoint, and/or harassment) call the San Diego Rapid Response Network 24-hour hotline at (619) 536-0823.

Immigration Pro-Bono Legal Assistance: For non-emergency immigration legal assistance inquiries, please call (858) 637-3365 or email [email protected] This line is staffed by the legal team at JFS – give us a call today!

Help Asylum-seekers Move Forward
Donate Today

Asylum seekers arriving in our community are in desperate need of your help. They have traveled thousands of miles to flee violence, persecution, and other hardships in their home country in search of a safer, better life. The most impactful way to address this issue is with responsive and flexible funding. Your financial support will change lives.


Make a Donation

Online donations can be made through or the donate button below.

Donate to Rapid Response

Checks can be mailed to:
Jewish Family Service of San Diego
C/O: San Diego Rapid Response Network

Turk Family Center
8804 Balboa Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123

Media Inquiries

For media-related inquiries, please contact J. Walcher Communications at (619) 295-7140 or send an email to [email protected].