Swords To Plowshares

Rating: 4.82 stars   39 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

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

Address:

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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More Info

(415) 252-4788
www.swords-to-plowshares.org

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Reviews for Swords To Plowshares

Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Goes into the community and repairs lives of vets in need and has been doing so since the mid 1970's. I became a swords volunteer after I saw swords do for veterans what I was unable to do for my only brother, a (mentally and physically) disabled vietnam veteran (Marine Corps) who lived homeless on the streets of los angeles for years while his pleas for help from the VA went unanswered. Today's swords staff -- many of whom who have lived this experience themselves -- goes onto the streets and, hands on, restores the lives of veterans with these needs by not only obtaining quick action on VA claims but by restoring personal dignity -- obtaining housing, job training and placement, psychological counseling and providing needed community support. steve snyder

 
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Role: Board Member
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with Swords since 2008. First as an employee, then as a client, and now as a board member. I have seen this organization grow, thrive, and impact hundreds of lives in the short time I have been involved with it. Currently the organization houses upwards of 500 veterans, is expanding, and is known and recognized as an excellent resource and advocate for veterans in the Bay Area and on a national level.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This non-profit has exceptional staff that is completely devoted to helping Veterans in all the ways necessary to ensure their success in life.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Swords to Plowshares is doing amazing work not only in the San Francisco Bay Area, but across the country in terms of thought leadership when it comes to how best to serve our veterans. Swords has made substantial strides toward ending veteran homelessness in San Francisco, one of the organization's core missions. Swords takes a holistic approach to serving veterans, focusing not only on ending homelessness, but also on prevention, on employment and training, and health and human services. The dedicated staff at Swords constantly amaze me by how much they truly care about the veterans they serve. My experience working with Swords has far exceeded my expectations.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have served on the board of Swords to Plowshares (STP) since 2005. STP has experienced tremendous growth in the past 10 years, expanding its offices and services from San Francisco to the East Bay Area. It has become a California state and national leader in the dual arenas of veterans services and policy/advocacy work on behalf of veterans. STP has partnered with other nonprofits and the Veterans Administration to greatly expand its supportive housing programs for veterans. It has created a vibrant pro bono legal services program and programs to educate first responders and mental health professionals on the special attributes and needs of veterans. It has convened conferences for smaller nonprofits who also serve veterans while creating programs tailored for women veterans and families and expanding its employment services for veterans. It is a well-governed and well-managed nonprofit with dedicated staff and board members.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Swords to Plowshares has more than 40 years' experience helping homeless and low income vets obtain shelter, mental health and substance counseling, job training and placement, and legal assistance. I know of n o other organization that provides such a broad spectrum of services for vets in need. A high percentage of Swords' staff and Board members are themselves vets, including many former Swords clients, so they bring a unique depth of knowledge, compassion and passion to their work.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have seen first hand how Swords to Plowshares touches the lives of veterans who are in desperate need of a helping hand. Within a matter of hours a homeless veteran can receive a roof over their head, legal advice and at times medical attention. I am a firm believer that Swords to Plowshares has saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of veterans who had exhausted all other lifelines. What makes this organization even better is the level of dedication of their employees when they come to work every day to fulfill the organization's mission by serving those that have served.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Swords is a phenomenal organization providing multi-faceted support to those very people who have put their lives on the line for their country. Over the last several years a lot of media attention has been focused on our veterans and still so many are looking for work, looking for housing, suffering from PTSD and other maladies or living on the streets. Swords , as a community based non-profit, has, for that last 40 years, been there for our vets, providing a drop in facility were they can get a variety of services to include a mental health assessment, legal council to help them receive their earned benefits from the VA and help with job hunting and housing. Swords also provides housing for nearly 500 formerly homeless or at risk veterans. Swords to Plowshares is a dynamic and very important organization that actually provides a real service for our veterans.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person 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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