Swords to Plowshares and Chinatown Community Development Center to Host Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening Celebration of Veterans Commons

75 Formerly Homeless Veterans Now Have a New Place to Call Home at 150 Otis Street

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Photo provided by Gelfand Partners Architects; Photo by Mark Luthringer

This is a critical step for the City and community to reduce homelessness and poverty among veterans

(PRWEB) January 25, 2013

On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, Swords to Plowshares and Chinatown Community Development Center will host the grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony of San Francisco’s newest housing for homeless veterans in 12 years. The grand opening event will take place from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at 150 Otis Street in San Francisco.

Spearheaded by community based non-profit organizations, Swords to Plowshares - a veteran service agency - and Chinatown Community Development Center- an established developer, the housing project now provides permanent housing and on-site supportive services to 75 formerly homeless veterans with disabilities.

“We look forward to celebrating the opening of Veterans Commons with the community and local leaders who have helped make this project possible,” said Michael Blecker, Swords to Plowshares’ Executive Director. “This is a critical step for the City and community to reduce homelessness and poverty among veterans.”

The residents of Veterans Commons are single homeless veterans who are disabled by mental illness, chronic substance abuse, HIV, post traumatic stress disorder, other severe mental health disorders, and/or physical disabilities. On-site supportive services provided by Swords to Plowshares and the Department of Veterans Affairs are tailored to meet the specialized needs of the residents.

“We are so thrilled to have Swords to Plowshares as a partner in building this milestone home for veterans," said Reverend Norman Fong, Chinatown CDC's Executive Director. “The completion of Veterans Commons is one of the most happy and joyful occasions and a new beginning for veterans.”

The property for Veterans Commons, a landmark building located at 150 Otis Street, was made available through the City’s Surplus Property Program. Funders for Veterans Commons include: San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing, San Francisco Housing Authority, San Francisco Human Services Agency, San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Housing Finance Agency, The Home Depot Foundation, Corporation for Supportive Housing, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs via the HUD VASH program, and Wells Fargo Bank as the construction lender and investor.

In addition to Swords to Plowshares’ existing supportive housing programs, which provide homes to hundreds of veterans each year, Veterans Commons will contribute to San Francisco’s efforts to significantly reduce veteran homelessness.

“After nearly 40 years working with homeless and at-risk veterans in San Francisco, I know what it takes to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Blecker. “For Vietnam-era veterans who have suffered for decades, permanent supportive housing is the solution that will save their lives.”

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.

About Chinatown Community Development Center
Chinatown Community Development Center has a 35-year history of providing community organizing, planning, youth development, housing development, property management and tenant services to communities across San Francisco. CCDC believes in a comprehensive vision of community that includes a quality environment, healthy neighborhood economies, and active volunteer associations. CCDC is committed to empowering low-income residents, building coalitions, embracing diversity and advocating for social and economic justice.


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