Moving Forward Together

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Jewish Family Service Migrant Family Shelter Moves to State-owned Facility

Move Comes Shortly After One-Year Mark; More Than 20,000 Migrants Served

Editor’s Note: For the safety and security of asylum-seeking families, shelter staff and volunteers, we respectfully request that media help us not draw attention to the new shelter’s specific location or address.

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 13, 2020)Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) announced today that the JFS Migrant Family Shelter has moved into a state-owned facility in Linda Vista. The move comes as JFS’s lease with the County of San Diego to operate the shelter out of a County-owned property concluded at the end of 2019.

“As a state that welcomes migrant families into our communities, we have an absolute responsibility to protect the health and safety of those who seek asylum and reside or travel within our borders,” said California Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins. “I am so grateful to Jewish Family Service and other partners in the San Diego Rapid Response Network that continue to step up, and am glad that the state can help provide shelter for our migrant families. We embrace our responsibility and will continue to be part of the solution.”

The shelter will continue to provide asylum-seeking families released from federal custody with critical humanitarian aid and transportation assistance to help them reach loved ones or sponsors elsewhere in the U.S.

“As we transition into the new space, we first need to thank the many partners, supporters and volunteers who have helped us provide refuge to thousands of asylum-seeking families over the last year,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins. “Thank you to the State of California and Governor Gavin Newsom, the County of San Diego and Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Greg Cox, the San Diego Rapid Response Network, and UC San Diego Health.”

As a core partner of the San Diego Rapid Response Network – a coalition of human rights, service and faith-based organizations dedicated to supporting immigrants in the San Diego region – JFS has been operating the Migrant Family Shelter since November 2018, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ended its “Safe Release” policy.

“The State of California responded from the beginning to help fund operations of the Jewish Family Service Migrant Family Shelter and is now proud to house the shelter in its new home,” said California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. “Through these collaborative efforts thousands of migrant families have been kept off San Diego’s streets, ensuring they did not further strain the capacities of service providers working to shelter and assist the region’s ever-growing homeless population.”

In a little over one year, the shelter has served over 20,000 asylum seekers – all family units – providing beds, food, clothing, health services, legal aid, and airplane and bus tickets to help families connect with loved ones across the country as they wait to continue their legal process to gain asylum. Families housed at the shelter include at least one to two young children, with average stays of 12 to 48 hours.

“The Migrant Family Shelter truly represents a collaborative effort of us all coming together to do the right thing. Because of this effort, thousands of vulnerable asylum-seeking families have been shown love, compassion and the best of the American spirit,” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

“I was proud to partner with Jewish Family Service, Gov. Newsom, state and federal representatives, and many others to address an ongoing humanitarian crisis at our border by opening up a temporary shelter for asylum seekers,” said County Supervisor Greg Cox. “That shelter not only provided a lifeline to families and children, but protected the public’s health and safety in San Diego. I look forward to this new location and our continuing partnership to provide critical services in our region.”

Additional funding is needed to maintain daily operation of the shelter and to support cross-country travel expenses of migrant families. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit

About Jewish Family Service of San Diego – Moving Forward Together
Founded in 1918, Jewish Family Service (JFS) is one of San Diego’s most impactful nonprofit agencies – providing resources and support to more than 39,500 San Diegans every year. Through integrated services, the organization empowers people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges, set goals, and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. JFS is committed to helping individuals and families in crisis move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen our San Diego community. To get help, volunteer, or learn how you can join us in Moving Forward Together, visit or call (858) 637-3000.

Media Contacts:
J. Walcher Communications, (619) 295-7140
Ashley Bendas, [email protected]
Sandy Young, [email protected]