Local Veteran Group Praises the City’s Ongoing Support for Veterans

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Swords to Plowshares to Join Mayor’s Office for Veteran Resources Press Conference

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We operate three supportive housing programs which are nationally recognized for their successful outcomes

Swords to Plowshares, a San Francisco-based veteran service agency, will join Mayor Newsom’s office tomorrow to recognize the City’s continued efforts to provide supportive services and resources to veterans most in need.

San Francisco recently launched an online resource for veterans, 311 which provides community resources for local veterans in need. The City’s new veterans 311 page is just the latest example of how important San Francisco’s support of veterans has been over the past 25 years.

“Many may view San Francisco as less patriotic than other U.S. Cities, because we may not do a great deal of flag waving, but I can tell you that The City and County of San Francisco has supported veterans, and continues to support veterans when and where it truly counts, and that it does so as well or better than anywhere else in this country,” said Leon Winston, Chief Operating Officer at Swords to Plowshares.

The City has funded mental health services for homeless and indigent veterans since the mid-1980’s. In addition, the City and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Redevelopment Agency, has helped Swords to Plowshares provide supportive housing to thousands of homeless veterans.

Over the last twenty years, the city has provided two group homes for 20 chronically homeless and chronically mentally ill veterans, a no-cost lease for transitional housing on Treasure Island for up to 70 veterans at any given time, and rehab financing for Swords to Plowshares’ Veterans Academy in the Presidio, which provides permanent housing to 102 veterans.

“We operate three supportive housing programs which are nationally recognized for their successful outcomes,” said Winston. “We are lucky to have the City’s ongoing support, including donated facilities, no-cost leases and rehab financing for our housing programs –all of which have significantly contributed to our success in helping so many veterans break the cycle of homelessness.”

Furthermore, Mayor Newsom’s Administration has continued that support and legacy by making available 150 Otis, a landmarked building, through the Surplus Property program, and significant funding for its development. This support will allow Swords to Plowshares and the Chinatown Community Development Center to continue working in partnership to develop housing at 150 Otis. The program, Veterans Commons, will provide permanent supportive housing for 75 chronically homeless and senior veterans when it opens in 2012.

“We are extremely grateful to Mayor Newsom, and to many of his predecessors, going back to then Mayor Feinstein, for truly making a difference in the lives of local veterans,” said Winston.”

About Swords to Plowshares

Founded in 1974, Swords to Plowshares is a community-based not-for-profit organization that provides counseling and case management, employment and training, housing and legal assistance to homeless and low-income veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Swords promotes and protects the rights of veterans through advocacy, public education, and partnerships with local, state and national entities.

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 reduce homelessness and poverty among veterans. Learn more about the work of Swords to Plowshares, and ways in which you can help, by visiting our website at http://www.stp-sf.org.

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Colleen Corliss
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