Swords to Plowshares Dedicates Historic Presidio Housing Site to Honor late Vietnam veteran Jon W. Paulson

The Jon W. Paulson Veterans Community houses 108 previously homeless veterans with disabilities. Since its opening in 2000, the recently renovated housing site has been home to veterans needing a reliable place to age with dignity.

San Francisco, CA, May 11, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On May 11th, 2023, Swords to Plowshares and Dianne Paulson will host a dedication event for the Jon W. Paulson Veterans Community and its many supporters. The site, formerly known as the Veterans Academy, was the nation’s first-ever permanent supportive housing program for veterans. It has been home to 108 formerly homeless veterans with disabilities since 2000. This site and program set a national precedent.  

“The name ‘Veterans Academy’ originated from the educational programming that was once more prominent here and interwoven with our transitional housing,” said Michael Blecker, Swords to Plowshares’ Executive Director. “But really this is a home where many veterans will age in place. It is a community. And now, it is a community named after a wonderfully compassionate and dedicated Vietnam veteran, Jon Paulson.” 

Jon Paulson, a Vietnam combat veteran, was a longtime supporter of Swords to Plowshares, serving on the agency’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board for more than twenty years. At a 2013 Veterans Day celebration, Jon delivered powerful remarks and said, “When I got home [from Vietnam], I searched, hunted, screamed for a cause that would justify America’s venture in Vietnam; all that carnage; all those deaths, American and Vietnamese. I never found that cause. I suppose I never would have addressed this hidden part of me if I hadn’t met Michael Blecker and his incredible staff and volunteers at Swords to Plowshares in the late 1990s. To them, it didn’t matter if you were for the war, or against the war. All that mattered was advocacy for veterans to help them get off the streets, get the benefits their own government was denying them, and to turn their lives around.” 

In 2016, Jon lost a long and difficult battle with cancer caused by exposure to agent orange during the Vietnam War. Read more about Jon’s life and accomplishments in his obituary. The dedication of this recently rehabilitated supportive housing site honors Jon’s legacy of serving fellow veterans and helping to raise awareness about issues pertaining to veterans for decades. After an arduous nearly-6-year process, Swords to Plowshares finally completed all capital improvements including installation of elevators for veteran residents to safely age in place with dignity.  

“As chair of the Presidio Trust Board and a recently appointed member of Swords to Plowshares advisory board, I am so pleased to participate in the dedication of the Jon W Paulson Veterans Community,” said Mark Buell. “As a former military post and now a National Park site, the Presidio is a wonderful place for Swords to Plowshares to provide homes for formerly homeless veterans.” 

John Keker, former chair of the Presidio Trust and Vietnam veteran will emcee the dedication event which will include remarks by Swords to Plowshares’ Executive Director Michael Blecker, Supervisor Catherine Stefani, Col. Chris Starling, and Jon’s close friends. A bronze sculpture created by Rolf Nordhammer Kriken to honor Jon and the many lives lost in Vietnam will also be unveiled.  

Dedication Event for Jon W. Paulson Veterans Community

Thursday, May 11, 2023  

3:00pm to 5:00pm 

1030 Girard Road 

San Francisco CA 94129 

For more information on the event, visit our website.

About Swords to Plowshares 

Founded in 1974, Swords to Plowshares is a community-based not-for-profit organization that provides counseling and case management, rapid re-housing and eviction prevention services, employment and training, supportive housing, and legal benefits assistance for low-income, homeless and at-risk veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Swords to Plowshares promotes and protects the rights of veterans through advocacy, public education, and partnerships with local, state and national entities. Learn more about the work of Swords to Plowshares, and ways in which you can help, by visiting our website at Swords to Plowshares (swords-to-plowshares.org)   



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