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The First "Safe Harbor"

"The Loft” was the oldest and one of only nine (9) permanent “Immigrant Welcoming Shelters” identified by the United Nations and Church World Service along the entire US/Mexico border, and the ONLY one in Southern California. It is where the Safe Harbors Network concept was born.

Located at Safe Harbors Network partner Christ Ministry Center in San Diego, next to is the busiest land border crossing in the world, The Loft served over 7,500 refugees and immigrants, including thousands of Haitians entering the US from Brazil in 2016.

The Loft had at least one person from every continent (except Australia and Antarctica) and over two dozen countries spend at least one night in this shelter. The priority was to provide a safe place for women and children. A total of 24 babies were born to mothers in the care of The Loft in one year, an average of one birth every two weeks.

Although The Loft had over 300 refugees at once in this former church building, it was zoned for six beds. 

In 2019, The City of San Diego Code Enforcement and Fire Marshall worked with Christ Ministry Center in slowly closing this oldest and largest shelter in the Safe Harbors Network. 


Consequently, Safe Harbors is developing a new model to increase capacity in a network of churches and other houses of worship, hotels, hostels, and individual homes. (See "The Welcome Home") This new model is Safe Harbors Network ( and is beginning to get traction, especially in the current climate of “zero tolerance” that separates families.


Contact us if you would like to help us welcome strangers as our Lord instructed us to do.

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