Swords to Plowshares on the Frontlines during the COVID-19 Crisis

Swords to Plowshares has been on the frontlines serving our most vulnerable veterans during the COVID-19 crisis. Our critical services led by essential staff have been uninterrupted – supportive housing, food, emergency shelter, benefits, mental health and outreach.

We continue to serve veterans with employment, legal services, and housing placement assistance remotely. As this crisis unfolds, we are taking every precaution to keep our staff and veteran community safe and healthy.

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Our response in this rapidly changing environment requires significant and unplanned expenses:

  • Remote technology – boost technical capacity for Swords to Plowshares’ employees during shelter-in-place orders
  • Mission critical pay – provide adequate compensation for frontline staff to continue vital services and transportation for essential workers
  • Food security – increase food services at our housing sites and distribute food gift cards to primarily unsheltered veterans, who are experiencing increased food insecurity
  • Emergency housing –it is critical to move unsheltered veterans into housing and we are increasing our emergency housing resources
  • Sanitation – increased janitorial services and supplies at each of our housing facilities and drop-in locations

To help us weather this storm and continue our vital work, we have set a $1 million fundraising goal.

We need your help to reach this goal. Please donate as generously as you can today! Thank you in advance for standing with us.

We are grateful for your support and partnership during this difficult time. Be well, stay healthy and please remember communities like ours that are deeply impacted.

Thank you to our generous funders helping us weather this storm!

  • Craig Newmark Philanthropies 
  • John & Tina Keker
  • United Way Bay Area
  • Qatalyst Partners
  • Y & H Soda Foundation
  • May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
  • William & Emily Brizendine
  • San Francisco Foundation
  • Samuel Test
  • West Davis & Bergard Foundation 
  • LinkedIn
  • Upwork Veterans Group
  • Varooge Yerganian
  • Rick Houlberg
  • Townsend Walker

**Please note we will update the list of funders twice monthly and are listing gifts above $1,000**

Drop-in Hours

We will offer mail services and provide food as needed to veterans who currently receive their mail at 1060 Howard Street in San Francisco and 2719 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. Triage may be offered to veterans in need of immediate/emergency services.

Shelter-in-place adjusted hours for our Service Center locations:

San Francisco Service Center

Monday – Friday (every workday) 1 pm – 4:30 pm

Oakland Service Center

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1 pm – 4 pm

Rental Payments

We will continue processing rent checks for veteran clients during this time. Please continue to coordinate with your case manager or contact us at [email protected].

Legal Services

If you are a San Francisco resident seeking help with VA benefits or a discharge upgrade, please contact Swords’ Intake Specialist Rebecca Beville at [email protected] or 415.252.4788 ext. 313.

All San Francisco veterans are eligible for a free one-time consultation with our attorneys, regardless of discharge status, the era of service, or length of service. Please note – We do not guarantee representation or ongoing assistance. We hope to return to our regular drop-in hours soon where all veterans who can attend are welcome.

Supportive Housing

We will limit all group activities and non-essential services in our housing programs. During this period, we will have Front Desk staff, maintenance staff & janitorial staff, and mental health staff only on a regular basis. Case management will be limited. Meal services in our programs will continue, but will be boxed and/or frozen. We are also providing residents with additional resources for groceries and boxed meals.  If you have questions or concerns, please email us at [email protected] .

Employment & Training

Any Employment & Training inquires including referrals, events, or services, please email us at [email protected].  Currently our office hours are limited and by appointment only.  If any Employment & Training services are needed, please email [email protected], or contact your Employment & Training Employment Specialist or Job Developer directly.

Please note that things are changing rapidly and business hours and available services are subject to change. 

None of us has experienced a pandemic in our lifetimes and, like most of us, Swords to Plowshares was not prepared for something of this nature and scope. However, we have been working tirelessly to provide the critical services that our veteran clients rely on, while protecting staff and thereby our community at large.

Swords to Plowshares provides housing for 500 veterans – 75% are seniors and many have chronic health conditions, making them the most vulnerable to serious health complications if they contract COVID-19. In late February, we opened a new housing site in Mission Bay, the Edwin M. Lee Apartments. We continue to move in new residents amid this crisis because being unhoused is a crisis as well.

Additionally, the unsheltered veterans we serve at our Drop-in Centers in San Francisco and Oakland rely on our doors to be open for triage and for the mail, which includes income checks and medications.

At present, here is how we are providing services:

Residential services: At our 8 housing programs where 500 veterans reside, we continue to provide 24/7 Program Monitor coverage, meals, mental health services, and limited case management.

Drop-in services: At our Service Centers in San Francisco and Oakland, we continue to offer triage services for veterans in crisis and mail services to our unsheltered clients. We are open Monday through Friday from 1 pm – 4:30 pm in San Francisco; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1 pm – 4pm in Oakland.

Legal services: Our Legal team continues to provide intakes to veterans in need of VA benefits and discharge upgrade help. These intakes are being conducted via phone for the time being.

Employment services: Our Employment team continues to provide case management and job placement support. We anticipate a spike in unemployment, and we will be here to serve.

Housing placement services & eviction prevention: We continue to move veterans and their families into permanent housing. Working remotely, staff are helping to identify affordable rental units and provide rental checks and security deposits to landlords. And we continue to provide assistance for late rental and utility payments.

Street outreach: We know that the unsheltered are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Our dedicated team continues to outreach to veterans in crisis to provide critical services. They are conducting referral-based outreach and limiting contact with group settings such as tent encampments.

Every day we are adapting to new situations during these very difficult times. As we stay nimble, we are committed to serving our veteran clients in the best ways possible while keeping the well-being of our veteran clients and staff always in mind.

We are grateful for your support and partnership during this difficult time. Be well, stay healthy and please remember communities like ours that are deeply impacted.