Mayor Lee Celebrates City’s Lease of 250 Kearny for Homeless Veteran Supportive Housing
New Residence For Formerly Homeless Veterans to Help San Francisco Reach Goal of Ending Chronic Veteran Homelessness; Highlights Success of Employment Efforts for Unemployed Veterans
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today celebrated the new permanently supportive housing for 130 formerly homeless veterans at 250 Kearny Street in San Francisco’s Financial District. Mayor Lee, Board President David Chiu and Supervisor Mark Farrell sponsored legislation for the City to lease the building at 250 Kearny Street. With the City adopting this lease unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, 250 Kearny will be substantially leased before year’s end.
“The men and women in our U.S. Armed Services make tremendous sacrifices on our behalf, and in return San Francisco must ensure that our veterans get the services and housing they need,” said Mayor Lee. “With this new permanent supportive housing at 250 Kearny, San Francisco will be closer than ever to reaching our ambitious goal to end chronic veterans homelessness by the end of 2015. We will not turn our backs on our dedicated service men and women, and we are working to ensure that they have the employment and training opportunities they need and deserve to successfully transition to civilian life. I am proud of the work that our Veterans Access Point and Swords to Plowshares do on behalf of our veterans each and every day.”
Because of San Francisco’s challenging rental market, 250 Kearny provides a rare opportunity to provide high-quality affordable housing for 130 formerly homeless veterans in a safe neighborhood. The City will lease 250 Kearny for 10 years for about $2 million per year, with 74 percent of the costs covered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has also committed an additional $500,000 for supportive services in addition to the suite of supportive services already programmed for 250 Kearny which includes case management, counseling, and recovery groups. The most vulnerable homeless veterans, with long histories of living on the streets, drug use, and psychiatric conditions will be prioritized for living at 250 Kearny.
Residents will be expected to pay 30 percent of their adjusted income in rent. Each unit has a private bath, and Internet, phone and cable TV jacks. The building has a large communal kitchen and on-site 24-hour supportive services including social workers and counselors and additional staff.
In addition to 130 federally-funded vouchers representing more than $1.75 million annually that will provide dedicated social work and medical and mental health resources, the San Francisco VA Medical Center has committed an additional $500,000 annually in support services to the site. The City’s general fund will cover the remaining $800,000 in costs. The San Francisco Housing Authority also secured an additional 75 project-based VASH vouchers to support 250 Kearny.
The City worked with HUD, the VA, San Francisco Housing Authority, Human Services Agency, Swords to Plowshares, and others on the Homes for Heroes campaign. HUD VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) has enabled over 500 formerly homeless veterans in San Francisco to rent apartments in the private market.
Mayor Lee also highlighted the City’s veterans services with programs like Veterans Connect and Veterans Portal to link veterans to housing, education, jobs and other social services. The Human Services Agency and the San Francisco VA Medical Center provides a robust array of veteran services in San Francisco in partnership with community partners, including Swords to Plowshares and Brilliant Corners. These services including legal and advocacy services to ensure all of veterans can access the veteran benefits their earned by serving their nation, art and behavioral health programs to build community amongst veterans and heal the wounds of battle and scars of trauma, and dedicated clinical care programs, temporary housing, and criminal justice services to maximize the stability and wellness of our local heroes. Swords to Plowshares and Hamilton Family Center will also be providing rental assistance, case management and help with housing placement through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families initiative.
The City is enhancing efforts to recruit and hire qualified veterans to a variety of jobs, including employment by the City and County of San Francisco, which as the largest employer in San Francisco provides preference to hire veterans and in particular disabled veterans.
Mayor Lee highlighted recent successes in getting unemployed veterans back to work. Last year, Mayor Lee announced the Veterans Access Point for Workforce Development Services at Swords to Plowshare, located at 1060 Howard Street. This comprehensive employment center for veterans and residents includes career counseling, job search and readiness programs, workshops and trainings, support services, and access to resource rooms with computers, fax and copy machines. Swords to Plowshares has been successfully working with veterans for forty years helping them get connected to jobs and housing. To date the Veterans Access Point has enrolled almost 150 veterans in programs and services, placing almost 100 in jobs. Since last year’s announcement, 102 veterans have enrolled in programs with 59 placed. Veterans have been placed in employment at more than 60 companies and non-profits. Swords to Plowshares also hired a number of program graduates, such as David Cascante, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who is now a case manager with the organization. Similarly, Don West, a U.S. Air Force, post-Vietnam era veteran, facing homelessness, was recently hired by Swords as a resident manager at one of their housing sites.
About Swords to Plowshares
Swords to Plowshares is a community-based, not-for-profit veteran service organization that provides wrap-around care to more than 2,000 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. Committed to helping veterans break through the cultural, educational, psychological and economic barriers they often face in their transition to the civilian world, Swords to Plowshares is a national model for veteran services and advocacy. With 40 years of experience, they have established the most respected and comprehensive model of care for veterans in the country. For more information, go to: www.swords-to-plowshares.org.
On November 13th, Swords to Plowshare will host a workshop for hiring managers and human resource professionals, on how to create avenues to hire and support veterans in the workplace.