The importance of community-based care

Katie Ettl
February 23, 2023

Through a multi-year collaboration with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) that began in early 2022, we are assisting in the design and evaluation of a new Veterans Support to Self-Reliance (VSSR) Pilot Program, directing an allocated $25 million to better support aging veterans across California. The VSSR pilot will examine the impact of enhanced on-site services on the housing stability and wellness outcomes of senior and high acuity veterans. We are committed to advocating for senior veterans to have the care they need to safely and successfully age in place in their homes.  

Veteran residents living in our permanent supportive housing programs have access to on-site care that enhances their wellbeing beyond only their basic needs. Once the strain of finding housing has been addressed, individuals are able to focus on and uplift other areas of their lives. We are fortunate to offer diverse methods of care, including animal therapy, to veterans who need it most. Our partnerships with Veterans and Equines Together and Warrior Canine Connection have provided Swords to Plowshares’ residents with a valuable opportunity to work on their mental wellbeing and become healthier members of their own communities.

Support groups are also a flourishing avenue for veteran residents in our housing programs and veterans who visit our Oakland and San Francisco Service Centers to build community and improve their mental health. In these groups, veterans connect with their peers who share similar lived experiences and access resources they need. In addition to the following groups, we offer social activities, including coffee chats, movie nights, bingo, and arts and crafts.

Veteran support groups we host

  • Combat Stress  
  • Health and Wellness
  • Music Appreciation
  • Creative Writing and Poetry
  • Mindfulness and Meditation  
  • Women's Group
  • Recovery/Veterans Support
  • Spiritual Wellness
  • Senior Veterans Support

Meet Dwayne Nicely

Dwayne Nicely is a formerly houseless 56-year-old veteran who moved into the Edwin M. Lee Apartments in 2021. He was the first resident there to participate in Warrior Canine Connection. Dwayne praises the therapeutic benefits of working with service dogs. “I see some guys act so crabby, but when they spend time with the dogs, it brings everyone’s spirits up.”

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Article by
Katie Ettl

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