During the last two COVID years, Swords to Plowshares prioritized helping homeless veterans transition from emergency housing to permanent housing. In 2021, we helped 163 veterans transition into a permanent home.
William, a 73-year-old Air Force veteran, is one of those people whose life has stabilized significantly after securing a reliable home. From Chicago, IL, William joined the Air Force in 1968. After exiting the military, he moved to San Francisco and worked in the healthcare industry. William was later diagnosed with a blood disease that causes clotting and strokes, which resulted in the amputation of his left leg. When Swords’ staff connected with him during the pandemic, he was experiencing housing instability, and his prosthetic leg was not working well. We first found an emergency shelter for William in November 2020, and by helping him work through tedious bureaucratic complications with his housing voucher, we worked with him to secure a one-bedroom apartment that can accommodate his disability in May 2021. He is enjoying better health in his new home in Marin County as he reconnects with his family there.
Traci is another veteran who safely transitioned into a permanent home when they needed it the most. When they were referred to us for emergency housing, they shared with our staff about their breast cancer diagnosis. We advocated for Traci at the oncology department at SFVAMC so they can receive radiation therapy. While helping them navigate the VA healthcare system, we also had them see different housing options through many virtual walkthroughs of possible rental units. With financial support from our rapid re-housing program, Traci finally moved into a townhome in Parkmerced in late 2021. Swords staff helped move Traci’s belongings and purchased new furnishings so they can focus on getting well. Traci can now focus on fighting breast cancer and thriving in their new permanent home.