Annual Report 2021A Letter from Michael

A Letter from our Executive Director

Michael Blecker, Executive Director, U.S. Army Veteran, 1967-1970, Vietnam Combat Infantry

Dear Friends and Supporters,  

I reflect on the resilience and dedication our staff and community partners have demonstrated in providing essential services to our clients. Another pandemic year did not stop us from helping veterans in crisis – in fact, it inspired new motivation and innovative ways to push our work forward safely. Throughout this annual report, you will find inspiring stories and statistics that illustrate just how critical our services and programs are to Bay Area veterans.  

Housing continues to be a fundamental priority for Swords to Plowshares, and this year we saw our tireless frontline staff initiate new efforts to support veterans coming off the street through emergency housing resources. The pandemic brought on a specific sense of urgency to our work. Providing access to safe shelter not only benefits an individual’s health needs, but also public health conditions. Without the quick efforts made by our housing and outreach staff, many veterans would have been left without essential resources during a time of national health crisis.  

This year, our steadfast legal and policy teams continued to advocate for the wellbeing of all veterans. COVID made us acutely aware of inadequacies within the systems that were meant to provide benefits to veterans. During this second year of COVID, we took to the virtual space to speak on behalf of underserved veterans and advocate to make sure the injustices within the existing systems are recognized and addressed. In so doing, we also developed new educational materials for other legal and program providers, so they have the tools to better connect and interact with the veterans they support and work with.  

We enter 2022 invigorated with a sense of optimism and capability. We have proven to veterans and supporters alike that our work can adapt to current challenges and needs we face in the time of the COVID crisis. The staff and Board of Directors at Swords to Plowshares thank you for your generous support in our mission to prevent and end poverty and homelessness among local veterans.