About Us

“A soldier does not leave their wounded on the battlefield. We consider the streets to be our battlefield, and Operation Dignity’s core mission is to leave no veteran behind.”

Operation Dignity has been on the front lines of fighting homelessness since 1993. We were founded that year by Alex McElree, a Vietnam War veteran.

Alex struggled with addiction and homelessness, fearing that he had survived war only to die on the streets of Oakland. When Alex finally got back on his feet, he collected a few beds and started a shelter in a small Oakland house.

When Alex and that initial group of veterans were naming the program, they wanted a name that recalled their military service, and also reminded them of what they wanted to achieve in their civilian lives. “Operation Dignity” was born.

In the years since, Operation Dignity has grown to manage 7 properties that provide shelter and housing to 200 veterans and their families on a given night.

We also partner with the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to conduct mobile street outreach to more than 1,500 individuals who are homeless a year and provide low-barrier shelter to over 200 unhoused Oaklanders each year in our Community Cabins.

Finally, we are out to expand the housing supply and create more permanent supportive housing for our unhoused neighbors. We also partner with affordable housing providers to offer supportive services to formerly homeless adults and children, helping them maintain their housing over the long term.