As the pandemic has raged on as many as 30-40 million people who have been unable to pay their rent or mortgages could soon be facing eviction. This eviction crisis also affects the pets in the home who may have to be left behind. The Humane Society of the United States estimates as many as two-thirds of those evicted have pets in the home. If families can’t find a rehome their pets or find temporary housing for them, many pets could end up in shelters and rescues around the nation.
Resources for Shelters & Rescues
(HSUS) has created a toolkit for shelters and rescues to help deal with the eviction crisis as it arises. In the toolkit, the HSUS explains there are two ways to support these families including providing assistance for families to stay with their pets and finding temporary housing for animals.
Providing assistance for families to stay with their pets could include financial aid for families who need pet deposits, pet food banks, and even free or subsidized medical care. Lost Our Home Pet Rescue has several programs meeting these needs including a pet food bank. In addition, they offer resources for pet-friendly housing.
The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA) also has resources for shelters looking to help pet owners caught in a housing crisis. The AAWA encourages shelters to use Eviction Moratorium maps to determine which protections exist state by state. Once shelters have that data, they can begin to track those who need help and what types of help they need. This will help shelters find patterns that they may be able to proactively plan for.
The KC Pet Project, a PetBridge client, has become a leader in assisting pet owners and has even created a “Keep ‘Em Together, KC” program which provides funds to help desperate pet owners. This program helps keep pets with their families so that pet owners don’t have to make the choice to surrender their pet.
As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in the lives of Americans and consequently, their pets, it’s important that shelters look ahead to address these issues.