Expanding in East Bay

Katie Ettl
February 23, 2023

Nearly 15 years ago, Swords to Plowshares began offering services in Oakland and the surrounding communities to respond to the needs of younger veterans returning from military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then, the profile of who we serve in the East Bay and the landscape of available services and service providers have changed. In response, the scope of our services continues to evolve to address the unmet needs of veterans. We are excited to offer additional services to underserved veterans in the East Bay.  

  • Mental health: Not all veterans can access or are willing to seek mental healthcare at the VA, which is why it is critical that Swords to Plowshares provides direct access to community-based mental health services for our clients. This past year, we began offering support groups and counseling at our Oakland Service Center.  
  • Legal services: We expanded our legal services in the East Bay to help more veterans access the VA benefits they earned through their service. Through regular legal clinics and targeted outreach, we aim to provide free legal services to more East Bay veterans.  
  • Senior veterans: We know that senior veterans, particularly those who have faced housing instability, need additional support. We have partnered with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates in West Oakland to provide their senior veteran clients with workshops on recovery and wellness, memory activities, and social bonding opportunities.  

Meet David McKnight

For five years, U.S. Navy veteran David McKnight was living out of his car and motels in Livermore with his wife and two sons. In December 2022, David’s wife, Timina, was introduced to Swords to Plowshares through our partnership with CityServe. Swords was able to get David and his family emergency housing to keep them safely housed while they began their search for a permanent home. Swords staff helped them find an apartment in Fremont and assisted with their move-in. David and Timina both work night shifts to support their family, and he says having reliable housing has been a blessing for each of them. “We hustle hard for our kids. Now they are relaxed and can focus on school.” Swords also helped furnish their apartment, and David looks forward to maintaining his new home and raising his family there.

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Article by
Katie Ettl

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