In the military, you often hear the pledge to leave no soldier behind. At Swords to Plowshares, we’ve pledged to leave no veteran behind.
That’s why we’ve taken on the task of getting homeless veterans off the streets and into supportive housing programs. As of November 2014, there were 720 homeless veterans in San Francisco—a 20% reduction from 919 homeless veterans in 2011—and a significant step toward ending veteran homelessness in the city once and for all as a direct result of the permanent and transitional housing that we offer.
Enter the 250 Kearny Project. The former Stanford Hotel, a squalid building once described by a city inspector as a “horror show” overrun with filth and feces, has been renovated into modern housing units made up of hardwood floors & banisters, warm brick, communal kitchens, 24-7 front-desk service as well as on-site case workers.
With 30 veterans already moved in, 250 Kearny is set to provide housing to 130 veterans overall, thanks to a joint effort between Swords to Plowshares, the City and County of San Francisco, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For our part, Swords to Plowshares is honored to run day-to-day operations and ensure these veterans are kept safe and secure with our wrap-around services. Since the 1980s, when homelessness first began to explode, we’ve provided supportive housing to more than 430 veterans and veteran families in the Bay Area.
This holiday season, we’re asking you to help us raise $20,000 to provide each new occupant with a microwave and refrigerator as part of our “Cold Nights, Warm Hearts” campaign. You can make a donation here. Even a $10 donation goes a long way to helping a veteran make a fresh start.
“When they first handed me blankets and towels, I started crying. I kept thinking, ‘Is this real?’” said Jacqueline Cooper, a mother and former Marine Sergeant, who moved in to 250 Kearny in early December. “We’re so fortunate to have a place over our heads that’s so amazingly beautiful and in such a safe neighborhood, without having to worry about getting sexually assaulted or beaten up. I have trouble sleeping from PTSD, but now I’m sleeping more hours in a row. We’re a community here, and we look out for each other.”
Currently Jacqueline is reconnecting with her teenage daughter and plans to go back to school. Many veteran occupants at 250 Kearny are in a similar position—reuniting with family, bettering themselves and starting new lives. Ending veteran homelessness in San Francisco is not a pipe dream. It’s fast becoming a reality thanks to bold initiatives like 250 Kearny.
Jacqueline and Joe both thank you—and so do we.
Swords to Plowshares