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War causes wounds and suffering that last beyond the battlefield. Swords to Plowshares' mission is to heal the wounds, to restore dignity, hope and self-sufficiency to all veterans in need, and to significantly reduce homelessness and poverty among veterans. 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 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area. We promote and protect the rights of veterans through advocacy, public education and partnerships with local, state and national entities.
Veterans make up nearly one-third of the nation's homeless population, and there are more than 2,500 homeless veterans in San Francisco on any given night. Each year, Swords to Plowshares provides critical care and assistance to approximately 1,000 homeless and low-income veterans through a number of innovative programs.
The Frontline Drop-in Center: The center provides mental health services, including counseling for drug and alcohol problems and post-traumatic stress disorders, case management and referrals. Swords to Plowshares was one of six programs -- and the only veteran-specific one -- across the nation to be honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for excellence in providing care to homeless people: "They are tireless advocates for the homeless ... a remarkable team of providers."
Legal Services: Many of our country's veterans never receive the benefits they deserve. A Civil War-era law prohibits veterans from paying attorneys to represent them before the Department of Veterans Affairs in most instances. Swords to Plowshares is one of the few organizations in the country that cuts through the red tape by providing free attorney representation, case management, and advocacy to indigent veterans seeking benefits.
Housing Assistance: Swords to Plowshares' residential programs provide homeless veterans with the stability and support they need to rebuild their lives. Swords offers transitional and temporary housing, regular meals, as well as intensive group and individual counseling.
The Veterans Academy: The Academy, located at a former Army post in San Francisco's Presidio, offers permanent supportive housing combined with options for counseling, academic instruction and vocational training.
Employment Support: Helping veterans find jobs is another key component of Swords to Plowshares' mission. Swords helps veterans make the transition to gainful employment by offering vocational counseling, life-skills training, resume preparation and job referrals. For over 25 years, Swords has been the principal provider of employment services to homeless and low-income veterans in San Francisco.
Policy Work has always been an important component of Swords to Plowshares' mission. The Iraq Veteran Project addresses the needs of returning veterans in their transition to civilian life.
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