(AUSTIN, TX) September 18, 2023–Human Animal Support Services (HASS), an international, collaborative project revolutionizing the animal welfare industry by cultivating a movement toward recognizing that human services and animal services are deeply intertwined, has launched an online Resource Center to meet the growing industry and public demand for support that meets the needs of people and pets equally.
“HASS recognizes there’s no supporting pets without supporting people,” said Vincent Medley, Director of HASS. “As we collectively witness the rise of nationwide challenges such as the housing crisis or economic insecurity, so does our call to support people and pets in need. Knowing that every community is unique, the soul of our mission is to compassionately bridge the resource gap between human and animal welfare industries and reimagine the welfare programs as we know it so families can come out the other side, together.”
Founded in April 2020 as an immediate response to assist animal service organizations with pandemic-related challenges, the partners that make up HASS built a comprehensive strategy to manage this sheltering crisis by engaging with the community directly and reimagining the animal welfare industry’s traditional shelter-first response model. Rooted in four core pathways, Pet Support Services, Lost Pet Reunification, Supported Self-Rehoming, and Intake to Placement, the new HASS Resource Center includes toolkits, guides, and programming roadmaps for industry professionals and animal welfare advocates to implement HASS in their communities and move closer toward a more unified system of support.
“To implement HASS pathways and supporting elements, the project focuses on three areas of expertise with specific teams dedicated to data and research, education/training, and policy-related initiatives,” Medley said. “Through implementing data-backed and policy informed programming, HASS has created a more comprehensive system of support that aims to address systemic challenges felt by people and pets alike.”
Studies show that 65% of U.S. households have a pet and 97% of Americans consider pets as a member of the family. When families like these are in times of crisis, HASS believes the industry should provide support that ensures the connection between humans and their animals remains unbroken. HASS’ philosophy and resources, devised by more than 300 animal welfare professionals, provides communities with social service-oriented systems that allow for both people and pets to have multiple options of care that best suit their needs. This new model aims to empower animal welfare facilities to be at the heart of their community rather than the first and only line of defense.
“The HASS project and newly launched Resource Center would not be possible without the brilliant minds of our 22 pilot and 165 partner organizations who have laid the foundation of this movement,” said Dr. Ellen Jefferson, President and CEO of Austin Pets Alive! the non-profit organization that facilitates the HASS project. “We know that when one member of a family is experiencing a trauma, crisis or difficult situation, then every member of that family is affected. The animal welfare industry is eager to embrace practices that keep people and pets together and continue the journey of improving the way we support our communities.”
About Human Animal Support Services (HASS): The Human Animal Support Services (HASS) project is a movement seeking to revolutionize the animal welfare industry by leading with and embracing a community support model. By providing both private and municipal animal shelters with equitable access to data-driven resources, education, and implementation tools, HASS aims to create pathways toward unified support systems for pets and their people in every community. Separated into three main pillars education, data, and policy, HASS encompasses a network of more than 1,500 animal and human welfare professionals. A project facilitated by Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) and under the direction of industry veteran Vincent Medley, HASS’ 41 pilot shelters and 165 partner organizations have joined the movement by committing to implement the HASS model. To learn more, visit www.humananimalsupportservices.org.