Verna Burton is a Chicago native who served in the U.S. Navy. Last summer, she had been looking for a career change and started to research employment opportunities outside of Chicago. During her search, she came across a position at McGee Air Services at the San Francisco Airport. The job entailed providing air services ranging from marshaling planes to customer service operations. She found the position interesting and applied.
Eventually, Burton landed the job and was slated to relocate and start around mid-October 2017. With her impending move to the San Francisco Bay Area, she began her housing search online, found a place, put down a security deposit and made her way out to San Francisco.
Everything seemed to be going well, until Verna arrived in San Francisco and found out that the place she had put her security deposit down on was a scam. Out of money and nearly out of hope, Verna searched for resources for Veterans to try to avoid a night on the streets. Verna came across Swords to Plowshares and frantically made her way down to our main office, entered our drop-in center just about two minutes before closing and broke down crying.
Verna’s tears wouldn’t last long, as our drop-in coordinator, LaJune Davis, consoled her and told her how we could help in this dire emergency. Together, they filled out all the applications immediately, found emergency housing for that night and scheduled another appointment for the following day to help secure a permanent solution.
Over the course of the next couple weeks, Verna worked with our staff to not only find permanent housing through the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, but also receive other critical services like food and travel vouchers, as well as financial assistance to purchase equipment that was necessary for her upcoming job. Thanks to the work of our staff, Verna started her new position without the extra stress of possibly becoming homeless in an unfamiliar area with a low supply of affordable housing options.
Verna has now been at her job for over six months and has already received a promotion. Verna couldn’t express how pleased she was with her experience at Swords to Plowshares, stating that, “the staff is just great and fantastic. Everyone was just wonderful and awesome. You all covered just about everything I needed and I am forever grateful.”
Kevin C. Miller is the media relations specialist at Swords to Plowshares, with the responsibility of managing all of the organization’s external communications. He spent four years in the United States Marine Corps and is an Iraq combat Veteran with three overseas deployments. He has a bachelor’s in recreation administration from Humboldt State University and a masters of public administration from San Francisco State University.