Swords To Plowshares

Rating: 4.81 stars   37 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Job Training, Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Veterans

Location: 1060 Howard Street 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: all veterans regardless of era of service or discharge status
Direct beneficiaries per year: 3000+ veterans per year
Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area
Programs: For 40 years, Swords to Plowshares has provided direct services for low-income, homeless, and at-risk San Francisco Bay Area veterans regardless of era of service or discharge status. Our services include: behavioral health and substance abuse counseling, case management, crisis intervention, money management assistance, employment and vocational training, supportive housing, housing placement assistance, and benefits advocacy. HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES / FRONTLINE DROP-IN CENTER in San Francisco helps homeless and at-risk veterans with: crisis intervention, mental health and substance abuse counseling, emergency shelter assistance; housing placement assistance, eviction prevention, money management and representative-payee services, ancillary support, referrals to our in-house programs and coordinated referrals for needed services. EMPLOYMENT & JOB TRAINING services offered in San Francisco and Oakland help veterans by working one-on-one with them to identify and mitigate barriers to employment; become job-ready through pre-employment preparation, career counseling, and vocational training; and obtain and retain employment with job placement and follow-up services. We work with employers and vocational training partners to facilitate job brokering, job placement, and veteran cohort vocational trainings. LEGAL SERVICES TO OBTAIN VA BENEFITS including representation by an attorney, help disabled low-income and homeless veterans each year obtain healthcare, disability, pension, and other available VA benefits earned through their service. SUPPORTIVE TEMPORARY & PERMANENT HOUSING sites house more than 500 veterans each year at two transitional and three permanent housing sites, including one dedicated to veterans with families. POLICY ADVOCACY initiatives are informed by our direct services. Our Institute for Veteran Policy (IVP) staff educates the public, service providers, and policy makers on veteran-friendly policies and best service practices
2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 94-2260626
(415) 252-4788
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Community Reviews

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

Swords to Plowshares provides excellent wrap-around care and services to bay area veterans. Veterans are one of the most under-served segments of our population and Swords is doing everything it can to help remedy that. Swords provides the highest quality health and social services, supportive housing, employment and training, and legal assistance to veterans.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

As a VA social worker and a veteran, I first heard about the work that Swords to Plowshares does when I worked across the San Francisco Bay from them, at a VA not connected with their services. I heard word-of-mouth details about how helpful they'd been to veterans on our side of the bay, and I even used them as a resource when I needed info from their legal team. Those legal services weren't available anywhere else, that I knew of. Then, when I started working at the San Francisco VAMC 5 years ago, I was able to refer veterans there myself, and was regularly impressed by the high quality of the supportive services they offered to our enrolled veterans. They're simply an unmatched non-profit: Hi quality services; key-staffers who are veterans; a long, consistent history of service and growth; and in-touch with, if not leading the charge for, addressing the latest concerns in the veteran community.

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

This is a well run non-profit that truly makes a difference in the lives of veterans. Housing, legal services, employment and job placement, and counseling-- all to help the lives of our servicemembers.

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

1 person found this review helpful

It truly is a veterans helping other veterans organization. They completely understand the need to achieve holistic care for their clients through actively collaborating with similar organization, social media outreach, etc. Come and check them out!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I first came across Swords when doing research for a documentary film about homelessness in America. Several organizations in the Bay Area mentioned they were very progressive in their approach and were doing a lot of good. Over the course of interviewing their director Michael, and several veterans, I got a chance to see the organization. But it wasn't until I filmed at other Veteran facilities around the US that I realized how unique and special STP is. Many orgs for example refuse to take veterans with bad paper (things like dishonorable discharges), while Swords not only doesn't discriminate, but also helps legally to try and get bad paper turned "good" (therefore allowing for medical, college, loan benefits, etc...). This example is just one of the mindset of a place like Swords that really strives to help as many people as they can.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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

6 people found this review helpful

I didn't know what to expect when I arrived in San Francisco to work with Swords to Plowshares. What I did know was that they were a leading organization helping veterans to access their benefits, overcome addiction, deal with health issues and even get them into permanent housing. What I didn't know was that Swords to Plowshares is so much more than all of that. I didn't know about the amazing legal team and all they really do for veterans. They have created a community among the people who go through their program and those who volunteer and work with them become a part of this community as well. I appreciated their rules that created respect among the people in their community regardless of their individual differences. I appreciated the humanity with which they treated every person.

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

working with the veterans and seeing their determination.

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

genuine, friendly and caring.

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

expand it's current program to accommodate a lot more veterans.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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

10 people found this review helpful

Hello, I have worked with Sword for the 10 years. Everyone their has aways been very helpful. The work that they do is amazing. David T. and David P. are aways helpful, understanding,compassionate and always willing to do what they can to help a Vet. Thank you Swords Barbara Y

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

willingness, passionate about their clients

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

100 million Veterans

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

 
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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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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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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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