Keeping Families Together During the Eviction Crisis: Tools and Resources for Animal Shelters and Communities

UPDATE – August 27, 2021:

The federal eviction moratorium was overturned by the Supreme Court on Thursday, August 26. With an estimated 3.5 million American families now facing eviction, animal shelters across the country are about to experience a massive influx of people needing to surrender their pets. 

According to our calculations, as many as 8 million pets could soon be surrendered to shelters because of the coming wave of evictions. Use our Pet Eviction Calculator to see the number of pets facing eviction in your community.

The Washington Post interviewed us about the urgent need for fosters and adopters due to this looming crisis last week.

“With this sudden end to the eviction moratorium, millions of families and pets are preparing to be displaced as we speak. Animal welfare has been bracing for this moment—this is the worst case scenario for people and pets,” says Kristen Hassen, Maddie’s® Director of American Pets Alive!.

Below, you’ll find the tools and information you need now to keep pets and people together, and pets out of shelters, through the eviction crisis:

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PREVIOUS UPDATE – August 4, 2021:

The Centers for Disease Control’s new ban on evictions gives some communities and animal shelters a temporary reprieve. But the moratorium is only in effect until October 3, and only applies in areas with “substantial or high” levels of community spread of COVID-19.  

This eviction crisis—facing some communities imminently, and some in the coming months—highlights the urgent need to implement the HASS elements and expand community-based sheltering options, like emergency fostering, right now. 

Building these programs and capacities is how we make sure we can care for our community’s animals in the face of the crises we know are coming, like these mass evictions, and those that inevitably arise without notice.

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Original Blog:

With the federal eviction moratorium expiring, millions of American families are at risk of losing their homes. The number of animals displaced with their people is likely to be catastrophic.

Here are tools, resources, and tips on how to keeps families together, and animals out of shelters, as we navigate this extraordinary crisis together:

  • The Keeping Families Together Eviction Response Toolkit: This comprehensive toolkit, created in collaboration with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and The Humane Society of the United States, offers concrete ways for shelters and other animal services providers to ready a response to the eviction crisis, offer services that will keep people and pets together, and provide temporary solutions to ensure families stay intact. 
  • Build An Emergency Foster Program: Providing or arranging emergency fostering for pets, when their owners are in crisis and can’t care for them, is a critical way to keep families together and pets out of animal shelters.

    We’ve just published this profile on Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering—a Salt Lake City, Utah-based emergency fostering organization—full of inspiration, ideas, and tips.
  • Use Mutual Aid To Harness Your Community’s Will To Help Pets Stay With Their Families And Out Of The Shelter: Mutual aid is when people get together to meet each other’s basic needs. Animal mutual aid is when people help each other with pet-related challenges—and in so doing, keep families together and pets out of animal shelters. 

    This blog offers the nitty gritty on how and why you and your community can use mutual aid to keep families together.
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