In response to rising veteran homelessness in the 1980s, Swords to Plowshares began to develop, renovate, and operate supportive housing programs for veterans. Today, Swords to Plowshares offers 500 unitsof permanent supportive housing in San Francisco for formerly homeless veterans with disabilities. We also offer low-barrier transitional housing. But not all veterans need a housing program to regain stability. We also help place another 400+ vets and their families in permanent housing with rental support.
of veteran residents remain stably housed
reduction in veteran homelessness in SF since 2010
of veteran residents have 1+ disabling condition
of veteran residents are seniors
Permanent housing is the foundation for life improvement, but a roof over one’s head does not immediately resolve challenges that cause chronic homelessness. Individuals living in our housing sites have access to supportive services that address their needs and assist them in maintaining their housing, such as case management, financial planning and assistance, and mental health counseling.
Our permanent supportive housing model is tailored to center the veteran experience. As reported in January 2023, 447 previously homeless veterans reside in Swords housing sites. 76% of them are 55 years old and above, many see their current home as the place they will be for the rest of their lives.
Everyone deserves housing that provides a sense of security and space to prioritize one’s wellness. We aim to offer housing opportunities that uplift individuals out of precarity and into environments that promote their overall wellbeing. This includes regular wellness checks done by staff and promoting activities that educate residents on healthy living habits.
Along with maintaining housing, integrating residents into their community is critical to improving health and wellbeing. Building community amongst residents through social activities like communal meals, day trips, gardening sessions, and art therapy provide necessary outlets for veterans in need of de-isolation.
For decades, we operated transitional housing, but in recent years have responded to the needs of veterans who are not always ready to engage in treatment. Low-barrier housing programs provide a high level of clinical and on-site staff to support unhoused veterans. Unlike traditional transitional housing, low-barrier programs do not enforce treatment or sobriety which lowers barriers to entry and pathways off the street for many veterans.
PSH residents hold a lease, pay rent, and live independently. Unlike a traditional market rental housing unit, PSH offers on-site supportive services including case management, meal services, community-building activities and more.
Most PSH is supported by housing subsidies from VA and HUD whereby public funds support the cost, however, veterans contribute 30% of their income toward their housing costs. If a veteran has no income, they pay no rent.
The VA is our biggest partner. Our low-barrier program for 19 veterans is funded by the VA’s Safe Haven program. Our PSH programs are supported by a mix of project-based HUD VASH vouchers (section 8 + case management for vets) and Continuum of Care housing vouchers. On-site services are offered by Swords’ and VA staff and are funded by VA, the City and County of San Francisco, the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and rental income. At present, private funders help support community-building activities and related staffing, as well as capital improvement projects.
Yes! We recently purchased a building in San Francisco at 629 Post Street which will relocate the veterans currently housed at the Fairfax Hotel. The site will also allow for expansion, bringing the total number of residents to 65.
Contributing donations/grants to help fund community activities, capital improvements, and clinical staff not funded by government contracts is the best way to help. Beyond financial contributions, we encourage members of the community to stay connected through our newsletter, follow us on social media, and inquire about volunteer opportunities.