Swords to Plowshares is a non-profit organization founded in 1974 by six veterans. Based in San Francisco, it is dedicated to providing comprehensive services to low-income and homeless veterans across the United States. This 501(c)(3) organization offers job training, housing, benefits advocacy, and emergency services and engages in policy work. Their mission is to heal the wounds of war, restore dignity, hope, and self-sufficiency to veterans in need, and prevent and end homelessness and poverty among veterans. Over the years, they have been at the forefront of advocating for veterans’ rights, raising awareness for veterans suffering from PTSD and exposure to Agent Orange, and offering a variety of residential and vocational training programs.
Swords to Plowshares also plays a significant role in housing and legal advocacy for veterans. Recognizing the over-representation of veterans among San Francisco’s homeless population, the organization began offering transitional housing programs in 1988, which became a national model for transitional housing. Their legal department represents clients with service-connected disability compensation, non-service-connected pension, and other veteran eligibility issues. Swords to Plowshares has also been involved in significant legal cases for veterans, such as the Edgewood Arsenal case, a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of veterans exposed to toxins, biological and nerve agents, and mind-altering drugs during military experiments.
A recent example of their impactful work involves Navy veteran Luis Lujan, who found himself in a difficult situation after a car accident exacerbated his previous military-related injuries, leaving him unemployed and struggling to find housing that would accept his military disability payments as income. After reaching out to Swords to Plowshares in 2019, the organization helped him secure housing and provided rental assistance, eventually even aiding him in finding a job with the state’s Employment Development Department. Such stories illustrate the organization’s commitment to aiding veterans in their transition to civilian life, offering them critical support and resources.
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