El Nido

mom with baby - Copy EL NIDO 

Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Program Gives abused women the chance to make a fresh start – with the tools they need for their families to thrive.

El Nido (Spanish for the Nest) is a safe, confidential place where homeless women with children can heal from trauma, gain new knowledge and job skills, and become financially solvent. This program offers families stable housing and supportive services while clients move towards self-sufficiency.

Capacity: 45 beds



Residents live in an 11-unit apartment complex for up to 12 months and, with the assistance of social workers, obtain the counseling, child care, employment, educational and transportation services they need to become self-sufficient. Each of the units is beautifully furnished by a local congregation.


Secure, confidential, independent living environment

Ongoing case management

Access to individual and group counseling

Positive & supportive program staff and volunteers

Referrals to legal assistance

Budget planning and life skills coaching

Transportation assistance

Housing search assistance

Learn more about our programs.




Call the El Nido Program at (619) 563-9878 and the staff will complete a phone screening with you and describe the program in detail.



Nallely & daughterThis is the story of Nallely. Her story starts as so many do. Her domestic partner of eight years had been less than loving for some time, but things were getting worse–emotional and verbal abuse, then physical abuse. That’s when she called the police.
Child Protective Services got involved and took her four girls out of their home for their safety. “That was the hardest thing,” she confides quietly, “Once they took them, it all became unbearable.” Even with a restraining order, her partner continued to threaten and harass her, until she was forced to flee to a domestic violence shelter.
Once reunited with her children, Nallely applied for and was accepted into the EL Nido Program. Amazingly, she continued to work throughout the moves, and now she added night school to her schedule. “It’s like there were two paths; EL Nido was one of them. I really don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t been accepted to the program.”
Her list of achievements is impressive: She has saved enough money to buy a car and to pay for her immigration papers; she has since applied for a residence card. Today she has her Associates degree and is a certified building inspector. She continues to study project management, so that she can further her chosen career. She already has a lead on an internship that she hopes will be waiting for her when she completes her studies this summer.
Her children, too, are thriving. Her oldest daughter has won a large scholarship and her other girls are doing well in Catholic schools. The family is now in permanent housing and looking forward to a bright future.
“She is someone to be admired,” says her El Nido case manager, “It was not easy for her. She had so many responsibilities. But the proudest thing for her was that she was not on welfare and her daughters were in Catholic Schools, where she also volunteers.


gladys (1)“I had never known anything but violence.”   

Raised in a violent household, the cycle of domestic violence (DV) continued in Gladys’ marriage.  After 19 years of fear and violence, during a particularly terrifying episode when she feared for her life, Gladys filed her first police report. After that, it took one year of counseling and support groups for her to leave him.

Walking away with nothing but her children was the most courageous thing she had ever done.

After two months in a secure DV emergency shelter, Gladys and her children arrived at ISN’s El Nido transitional housing Program. With the help of her case manager, Gladys began to envision and plan for an entirely new life. She and her children attended family therapy and grew closer. Gladys learned to manage her time and money. She found employment as a care giver at a nursing home, and after nine months in the program was approved for an affordable apartment.



Blanca 3 (1)My name is Blanca. I’m a survivor of domestic violence and I want to tell you my story.

Right after I met and married what I thought was a nice, supportive man, he suddenly changed the way he treated me. I couldn’t contact my friends or family. He told me to wear clothes three sizes too big, and not to wear makeup.

We had two children, but the relationship continued to deteriorate. He started to make verbal threats. However, I thought that DV was physical violence only, and I had to keep the family together. During the last three years of our relationship, it escalated to violence.

A CPS worker told me to go to an emergency shelter for my family’s safety. Then were accepted into El Nido and things started to change fast. Through family therapy, my children and I learned to communicate. Currently I’m filing for divorce. My children have started supervised visits with their dad, but now, they are able to talk and share their emotions with me.

I have a two-bedroom apartment in downtown San Diego. I upgraded my car, have a savings account, and managed to obtain child support. I am a survivor, and still learning every day, but without programs like this I would not have accomplished all these things. More important, I have my family; me and my two children and finally I am proud of my accomplishments.

Summary of Services