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County Reimbursed $2 Million for Migrant Crisis Costs


Supervisors Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher announced today that the County of San Diego has been reimbursed more than $2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for costs incurred to provide medical attention to migrant families who temporarily stayed in a shelter provided by the County, and operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego and other local non-profits.

In January, Supervisors Cox and Fletcher urged immediate action to help migrant families being released on the streets of San Diego without resources. They presented a policy to establish a temporary shelter, work on a long-term shelter solution, and pursue funding to make the County whole for to committing help to migrant families.

“We’re glad the federal government stepped up to cover costs for a problem it created,” said Cox, the Board Vice-Chairman. “Let’s not forget we opened an unused County building for a shelter because immigration authorities were releasing asylum-seeking families on our streets without providing them any resources. We wanted to avoid a public health and safety crisis on our streets, and we have.”

“We swiftly took action in January to help migrant families because it was the right thing to do,” said Supervisor Fletcher. “The County of San Diego, together with our partners from local non-profits and state, stepped up to address the border crisis. Having care and compassion for human life is our number one priority as government, and this reimbursement shows, if you do the right thing, you will be rewarded.”

The County received a check in the amount of $2,022,686.12 from FEMA. The money is in response to a claim filed by the County’s Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) seeking reimbursement for costs incurred between January – June 2019 responding to the humanitarian crisis at the border.

The costs reimbursed were primarily for contractors and County staff providing health/assessment services.

The County worked with Jewish Family Service and a coalition of partners known as the San Diego Rapid Response Network to open a temporary shelter in a former family court building in downtown San Diego. The State of California took notice of the work of non-profits and local government and stepped up with $25 million to support those addressing the migrant crisis. To date, more than 20,000 children and families have been taken in at the shelter and received medical services by County health nurses and local nonprofit health providers.

HHSA officials said there are some minor costs still outstanding post July 1, but HHSA is considering seeking additional reimbursement for those costs as well.