Swords to Plowshares

Rating: 4.75 stars   20 reviews

Issues:

Location: 1060 Howard St San Francisco CA 94103 USA

Mission: War causes wounds and suffering that last beyond the battlefield. Our mission is to heal the wounds, to restore dignity, hope and self-sufficiency to all veterans in need, and to prevent and end homelessness and poverty among veterans.
Results: Swords to Plowshares has helped thousands of veterans since its founding in 1974 with getting a job and/or job training; help with VA benefits; long-term case management; emergency, transitional and permanent housing; more veteran friendly local, state and federal policies (various policy changes made over the years; a “seat at the table” on a dozen local, state and federal committees, commissions).
Target demographics: Veterans of the U.S. military
Direct beneficiaries per year: 2000 veterans per year
Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area
Programs: FRONTLINE DROP-IN CENTER: Provides emergency shelter, mental health services and referrals to homeless veterans. SUPPORTIVE HOUSING: Offers permanent supportive housing at the Presidio and in the Mission District in San Francisco combined with options for counseling, academic instruction and vocational training for 102 formerly homeless veterans with disabilities. Additionally, we provide transitional housing for 75 veterans at a time for intensive individual, group and peer counseling. EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT: Provides comprehensive services to enable veteran clients to become job ready through vocational counseling, job training, resume preparation and job referrals. LEGAL SERVICES: Provides free attorney representation, case management and advocacy to indigent veterans seeking benefits and trains Pro Bono attorneys to assist veterans with claims.
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EIN 94-2260626
(415) 252-4788
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

S2S offers veteran's an opportunity to regain their dignity while providing a wholesome and supportive environment. THeir approacht is empathetic, but realistic. S2S provides a very needed service in our community, and more of this type of services are needed through out california.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen people's life change with the influence of S2S

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide them with more funding so they can reach more veterans

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the human touch

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

are caring and absolutly dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

touch the lives of so many more and therefore make such a positive imapct on socielty

Ways to make it better...

I wish S2S had enough money to servie many more pople

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funds

One thing I'd also say is that...

I have yet to have a bad experience with S2S

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Swords To Plowshares, wow waht a group. I was suffering from PTSD sleeping on my sisters couch. They took me in put a roof over my head. Set me up with a Therapist on the island that not only helped me with mental health issues from my days as a Marine, yet, even ones from childhood.They use varies levels of treatment to help cope with anxiety, depression and PTSD. I have since reconnected with my family and still reframe from using acholol and drugs. They helped with school which I am still continuing my education. Their legal team is the best I have ever seen. They have help me with my servce-connection disablities and even in the search of my Birth parents. I have and will continue to support Swords To Plowshares and recommend them to any veteran that can use their help. Thank GOD for them.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Continuing my education plans.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the way they detail the program to fit the person and not the overall group.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

are caring and extremely helpful.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

bulid a larger complex to house more Veterans, put a in house education and benefit center.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Swords to Plowshares totally turned my life around. I was homeless, had an impacted wisdom tooth and suffering from PTSD. I had been trying to get the wisdom tooth pulled way back in 2004 while I was still serving in the military but had no success. They deployed me to Iraq shortly after, and I could not get the dental services that I needed. Swords hooked my up with dental at Ft. Miley and had the tooth extracted free of charge. They are also helping me with my service-connected disability claim with the VA and are going to provide me with legal assistance. If it wasn't for Swords, I would still be living on the streets. Thank You, Swords to Plowshares!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

medical and legal help.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Swords is one of the first places I send veterans and servicemebers in need of resources. If they cannot help with disability, benefit, financial, counseling, educationalal job/employment information, they find a resource that can. Committed, dedicated professional, down to earth, men and women who have walked the walk..been in the military, etc.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

advocating for our veterans

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change a thing

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

they love and care about our veterans

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Caring, compassionate, committed, profesional dedicated, outspoken, knowledgeable

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the paradigm of veteran services.

Ways to make it better...

they had more funding

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funding

One thing I'd also say is that...

keep doing what you are doing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a law enforcement chaplain since 1992. Since 2003 I have been helping vets that "fell through the cracks" in the military / VA system. The need is much greater than my resources, or the resources of my department. When in need of help "Swords" is often the first organization that I call. I have found them to be caring and knowledgeable when it comes to handeling vet's issues or getting them help. They have earned my respect by their dedication and mission focus. A few months ago I had a vet that was going to be unfairly "admin" discharged. He would have lost all his benefits and receive a less than honorable discharge, a stigma that would have been with him for life. Amy Fairweather gave me sound advice and a referral to another attorney that was highly qualified to handle the case. Many vets organizations will not help a vet if they were discharged under less than honorable conditions. "Swords" on the other hand will help them. This becomes extremely important to a vet that needs help, and was unfairly "admin" discharged. Changing and "admin" discharge to honorable can take up to two years. For a vet in crisis, it is two years too long and the consequences can be devistating. Biggest for Swords to Plowshares? They offer and give real help, not just lip service.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping vets through all the red tape associated with government agenicies.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

......

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Getting to know Amy, Mai-Ling, Shannon, and Tia.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Cheerful and glad to help.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Move to a bigger building with easier access for vets. The staff appears to be cramped. Parking is a real problem, and truthfully during the winter this area can be scary at quiting time. (When it's dark)

Ways to make it better...

They had an office near me. I actually drive over 50 miles each way to get to where they are now. Between here and San Francisco I pass a lot of other "vets services" and the offices they staff.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Not enough hours in the day.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I have not earned to right to judge or criticize where or how anyone at "Swords" works.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

The folks at Swords to Plowshares are AMAZING! I could not believe that I was able to receive the financial assistance I needed to complete my training as a paramedic. The whole process was done in a way that I felt supported and dignified. There was very little waiting and I was never left wondering if I was going to be able to do it. Dave, my contact, was particularly understanding, compassionate, and helpful in my being able to achieve my goals. As a Desert Storm Era Veteran whose GI Bill already expired, I was particularly thankful to have this service provided by this GREAT NONPROFIT. Thank you!!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how I could achieve my education and career goals through financial support that I received from Swords.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make sure I told the employees that they were appreciated and value them in as many ways as I could (financially, perks, fun, etc).

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

not having to worry.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AMAZING, compassionate, giving, supportive, helpful and great communicators.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help pick up the slack of the VA, expand its services outside the Bay Area, advertise in more venues so more veterans could benefit, have financial viability guaranteed into the future when more Iraq/Afghanistan/War on Terror Veterans come home.

Ways to make it better...

I would have known about them earlier in my educational process.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, high cost of living in San Francisco, VA system that is overburdened and often poorly run.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I appreciate how easy it was to get my needs met. Thank you!!!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-6-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I cannot speak highly enough about this extremely meritorious organization. I have been working with Swords for more than two years now, consulting with several of its departments on a major project regarding the criminalization combat-induced trauma. This has involved my consulting with individuals and groups on many different and complex issues. The staff at Swords is a very diverse group with a broad range of backgrounds, experiences and expertises, which keeps their projects at the cutting edge. That the organization is dedicated to having veterans integral to its operations is an essential aspect of its unassailable reputation, its integrity and its success. At the numerous meetings I have attended at Swords, the room just sparks with energy; the commitment of each and every person to the organization's mission is apparent and profound. I am continually inspired by the intelligence and creativity of Swords' staff and regard my involvement with the organization as one of the highlights of my career thus far.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the success of major funding proposals supporting cutting edge projects supporting combatants and veterans.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

be deeply satisfied that my work was invaluable human rights advocacy.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the intelligence and generosity of Swords' staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

energetic, good humored, highly intelligent, very generous.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world even more with its positive impacts on the lives of men, women, and children who are making the greatest sacrifice for this country, and who are not being honored as they should be.

Ways to make it better...

more funding were available to expand Swords' programs and services to restore combatants and veterans to a standard of living they deserve.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding. Too many clients, too fast, with too few resources.

One thing I'd also say is that...

it has been an honor to work with Swords to Plowshares, truly. It has made me smarter and better.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-4-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

My relationship with Swords goes back to 1992 when I volunteered for the Stand Down for homeless veterans. Since that time I have watched Swords grow and change to meet the needs of the veterans it serves, whether it be homeless veterans or veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Swords not only provides services to veterans but also works on the policy side, advocating for veterans' benefits.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the success stories of formerly homeless veterans.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make better use of the Internet to reach out to younger veterans.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the dedication of the staff to those they serve.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

veterans and non-veterans, but all dedicated to helping those in need.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand transitional housing for homeless veterans.

Ways to make it better...

Swords had more staff to stay open throughout the day.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The changing dynamics of the veterans population. Swords has traditionally served Viet Nam-era veterans, but now it is serving younger veterans who have different issues and needs.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Swords is a great organiztion.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I was a Marine Platoon Commander in Vietnam and lost 11 young Marines and two Navy Corpsmen over a 14 month period in 1965 and 1966. I was bitter and avoided anything to do with the military until the late 1990s, when I heard about Swords to Plowshares and the work they were doing with homeless veterans in San Francisco. After learning about veterans who had been helped by Swords and meeting Executive Director Michael Blecker and his staff at Swords, my wife and I began contributing to Swords' work, I joined the Board and my wife became active in Swords' Annual Veterans Day Dinner. We have watched Swords grow from a smaller, locally known agency to a nationally recognized veterans' organization that helps Vietnam and older veterans deal with homelessness and benefits issues, and, more currently, helps recent Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans with legal, education, training and housing issues before they sink into or near homelessness. Swords works. Vets in need benefit. We're proud to be a part of Swords' continuing work. Jon Paulson

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping veterans become part of society again.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not run this organization...I am not qualified.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Swords' staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated and devoted to Swords' mission...vets helping vets since 74.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand its activities throughout the whole San Francisco Bay Area.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time and money.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

visibility to and awareness by San Francisco's "Opera Crowd", those who could and should better support Swords' work.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Michael Blecker, Swords' Executive Director, has devoted over 30 years' of his life to helping veterans get better treatment than they would if it were left up to the U.S. government and citizens alone.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Swords has been assisting Veterans in need since the 1970's in the San Francisco Bay area. To really evaluate a non-profit organization all you have to do is go to the men and women who are receiving the benefits from the organization. Having served 24 plus years with the U.S. Army and being a combat Vietnam veteran, I can relate to our veterans in need. Since volunteering with Swords I have had the opportunity to interview several of the veterans that have received care, treatment, training and schooling, and placement back into society as productive citizens. The stories have been remarkable and very moving, which provides those of us who are honored to be associated with Swords with real pride. Swords works with men and women who have faithfully served our country and suffered some real tragic after effects that put them in tough scenarios where they were unable to come back out without the help of an organization with strong resolve and resources. I have found that there is no better non-profit to spend my valuable volunteer time with then Swords to Plowshares.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My personal interviews of their clients.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The results I see first hand from their care and treatment of the veterans they have worked with.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Highly motivated and dedicated to assisting veterans in need.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Assist a larger number of veterans that are in need of treatment and housing.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

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