Help for veterans from Swords to Plowshares.

Veterans in the San Francisco area, including Alameda County, can turn to Swords to Plowshares for assistance. The non-profit agency provides a number of services to them, ranging from housing to case management such as job placement and employment. There is advice, guidance, and support available regardless of their  discharge status or length of service.

The Drop in Clinic was set up as a resource that will provide clients with a wide array of services. As veterans themselves, the counselors at the center are dedicated to helping their fellow service members, including those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disabilities and any other service-related mental illnesses.

It is the goal of Swords to Plowshares to help clients improve their lives and the conditions of their families as well as overcome addiction and poverty. Some Drop-in Clinic assistance programs include ongoing Case Management, Emergency Housing, Referrals to Community Service Organizations, Financial Counseling, Rent help as a form of Eviction Prevention, and Mental Health Services. There is also help in applying for benefits such as Social Security and SSI, MediCal Health Plan Services, and other public aid.

The SSVF - Support Services for Veteran Families provides short-term financial support and critical services to help end homelessness or evictions among veterans. The goal is to empower families with dependents under the age of 18, and this is done by enabling them to improve their financial circumstances.

As part of this benefit, Swords to Plowshares can help individuals apply for Temporary Financial Assistance with Transportation, Utilities, Childcare, Emergency Supplies and Healthcare. There is also Short-Term Case Management available along with Legal Assistance with obtaining Disability Benefits. Other housing counseling can also be arranged for the homeless as well as veterans facing eviction in San Francisco.

Chinook Permanent Supportive Family Housing is a resource that is located on the former Treasure Island Naval Base. The site consists of single family units and provides veterans and their families, including children, with permanent, affordable housing. It is also combined with supportive services as well as guidance.

Another program at the same location is the Treasure Island Transitional Housing Program, which provides up to two years of short term housing for a number of homeless veterans at any given time. This assisted living facility provides support in a therapeutic and peaceful setting for veterans working to focus on their mental health, stabilize their lives and maintain their sobriety.




Veterans exiting inpatient psychiatric facilities can turn to DeMontfort Street Transitional Housing, which is a Swords to Plowshares resource. This will provide them with various forms of help, such as stabilization programming, case management, and cognitive behavioral therapy. It is for the disabled and mentally ill in the community.

Employment support services for veterans from the Drop in Clinic include one-on-one work sessions as well as free advice from job counselors. They will provide the client with attention on their individual needs, determine long-term career plans, and overcome obstacles to employment. The components of it include the following.

Career Pathways utilizes vocational training model to create meaningful job opportunities for all veterans. It focuses on jobs in high-growth, high-wage industries, such as green marketing, clean energy, transportation, computer technology, and health care.

Many non-profits in San Francisco partner with Swords to Plowshares offers to offer ongoing job training, licensing, and certification programs for veterans seeking high-wage jobs in the in the healthcare or transportation industry. Examples of positions may be nursing assistants or pharmacy technicians.

Counseling is offered on an ongoing basis from job developers and case managers. Clients will have access to a free Needs Assessment. Based on the results, assistance is available for Job Interview Preparation and Readiness or Resume Creation. Plowshare may also financial support such as free Vouchers for Transportation and Meals, clothing, or school and work supplies.

Dress for Success is another key partner. Swords to Plowshares works with them to pass out free professional attire as well as oversee a network of support. There are also various career development tools available to help women and female veterans thrive, both at work and in life. Additionally, Steps for Success is another initiative focusing on the crucial first 30 days on the new job.





Guidance and support in applying for disability and other cash payments is available. The fact is that veterans do not automatically receive benefits for disabilities related to their time in service, and the process for obtaining benefits is confusing and complex.

Some of the challenges are that many veterans may not be aware that they are eligible for government benefits, or they may be deemed ineligible to receive much needed VA benefits because of less than fully honorable discharges.

Swords to Plowshares is one of the few non-profit organizations in the state and country that is involved in providing free attorney representation for veterans in these areas. Another feature of the Legal Services is that it assists ex military service members of any era and discharge status, and this is available in both Oakland and San Francisco. Pro bono attorneys help veterans gather evidence to substantiate their claims for disability benefits and military discharge upgrades.

This can be critical for a former service member. By helping clients in San Francisco with accessing earned benefits, increasing financial stability, escaping homelessness and focusing on their long-term health and well-being, Swords to Plowshares will play a key role in rebuilding lives.

There are a few offices. The centers are:

  • 1060 Howard St., San Francisco, California 94103, call 415-252-4788
  • East Bay, 1433 Webster St., Oakland, CA 94612, call 510-891-8773



By Jon McNamara

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