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County's projected costs of San Diego shelter for asylum-seekers top $1.3 million

Migrant shelter san diego
Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 20:39:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Through the end of March, San Diego County spent more than $1.3 million in projected costs to run a downtown shelter set up for asylum seekers awaiting an immigration hearing.

According to a weekly report by the county Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), $1,309,961 was spent on health services, HHSA staff salary and benefits, interpreters, supplies and equipment, pharmaceuticals, and more at the San Diego Rapid Response Network Shelter:

(Total costs projected through March 29)

  • Contracted health services - UCSD: $799,160
  • HHSA staff salary and benefits: $258,471
  • County Department of General Services staff: $67,695
  • Interpreters: $64,440
  • Contracted nurses - Maxim: $58,258
  • Supplies and equipment: $26,149
  • County Public Safety Group's Office of Emergency Services staff: $22,743
  • Pharmaceuticals: $13,045

Since Dec, 20, 2018, the shelter has provided nearly 8,700 health screenings, assessing about 84 people a day on average.

Medical staff have helped provide care for conditions ranging from the flu to lice and scabies to emergency department referrals. Since January 2, common clinical findings by the numbers include:

  • Influenza-like illness: 32 cases
  • Rule out tuberculosis: 26 cases
  • Chicken pox (Varicella): 4 cases
  • Lice: 564 cases
  • Scabies: 254 cases
  • Hepatitis A: 0 cases
  • Emergency department referrals: 79 cases

An average of about 14 staff members, including doctors, nurses, county staff, and interpreters, work at the shelter daily, responsible for both initial health screenings and follow-up screenings and treatment.

The shelter will refer guests to outside medical care if appropriate.


The shelter serves asylum-seeking families identified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as eligible to apply for asylum. Adults have been fitted with an ankle monitor by ICE and the agency is responsible for monitoring families, according to HHSA.

Jewish Family Service operates the shelter with the help of non-governmental groups, providing food, medical care, legal services, and travel coordination to guests awaiting hearings.

All guests are at the shelter voluntarily.