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Jewish Family Service Migrant Shelter Moved To Different Facility

An asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hallway after arriving...

Photo by Gregory Bull AP

Above: An asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hallway after arriving at a shelter in San Diego, December 2018.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego announced Monday it has moved its migrant family shelter, which began operating in November 2018, into a state-owned facility in the community of Linda Vista.

The nonprofit organization's lease with the county of San Diego to operate the shelter out of a county-owned property concluded at the end of 2019, according to JFS CEO Michael Hopkins, who thanked Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Diego County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Greg Cox, the San Diego Rapid Response Network and UC San Diego Health for their assistance with the move.

The shelter — which was established after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ended its "Safe Release" policy — will continue to provide families released from federal custody with humanitarian aid and transportation assistance to help them reach family members or sponsors elsewhere in the United States as they wait to continue their legal process to gain asylum, JFS officials said.

Since opening last year, the shelter has assisted more than 20,000 asylum seekers, who have been provided with beds, food, clothing, health services, legal aid, and airplane and bus tickets, according to Hopkins.

Families staying at the shelter include at least one to two young children, with average stays of 12 to 48 hours.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni G. Atkins credited JFS and San Diego Rapid Response Network partners for helping migrant families.

"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," Atkins said. "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."

Fletcher said the 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."

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

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