There are two primary options for groups to consider in offering support:

  • Provide resources and services designed to keep people and pets together even when people reside in temporary housing situations.
  • Assist pet owners in finding temporary solutions within their own network. The secondary option is to provide temporary care and housing for a person’s pet while the pet owner seeks new housing accommodations.

Disclaimer: We understand that your organization may have limitations on what tasks can be assigned to volunteers. Please feel free to adapt the following recommendations to best fit the needs of your organization.

Keeping People Affected by Eviction with Their Pets

When experiencing displacement or housing insecurity a variety of pet needs arise, both large and small. Consider how your organization can offer assistance, including but not limited to these resources.

Support Package

Similarly to what your organization offers to foster homes, provide the same free package to people for their pets.

  • Leashes/collars
  • Spay/neuter
  • Vaccines
  • Licensing
  • Flea/tick prevention
  • Indoor crates
  • Litter boxes/litter
  • Kennel/fences/trolleys
  • Dog houses
  • Food
  • Enrichment/toys/ behavior management
  • ID tags
  • Microchips
  • Tie-outs (where legal and with appropriate information sharing on use)

When people stay with friends or family while searching for a new home, these supplies and services are invaluable, alleviating one area of stress and worry in an overwhelming circumstance can be the key to avoiding a negative outcome. Having up-to-date vaccinations and other services is often required or looked upon favorably by potential landlords. Crates, food and vaccinations can make all the difference. It is very important to talk with people about what they need first before attempting to meet their perceived needs.

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Gathering supplies for support packages.

  • If your organization has access to supplies normally provided for foster homes, consider using these supplies for families in between housing.
    Create a donation request letter and send to local stores that carry pet supplies.

  • Create a volunteer team of trained ambassadors who will serve as assigned support for families throughout their housing crisis.

  • Ask community members for donations of gently used supplies like leashes/collars, crates, dog houses, etc.

  • Please see slides within this presentation from Pima Animal Care Center on creating an Amazon Wishlist to obtain donations.

  • Host a supply drive for community members to drop off gently used items.

  • Share donation collection efforts on social media to recruit more donors and let community members know that supplies could be obtained from their local shelter.

  • Add a line to your adoption application soliciting donations for KFT programs.

  • Seek Mobile Minis or storage pod donations for supply storage.
  • Ask community members for donations of gently used supplies like leashes/collars, crates, dog houses, etc.

  • Deliver care packages to the hotels/motels, call around to find possibly temporary, pet-friendly housing, or assume other duties to lessen the burden on existing shelter staff.

  • Here is a guide on how to safely distribute products during COVID.

  • Reshare donation collection efforts on social media platforms, with local community partners, and community bulletin boards.

Pet Food

The COVID response has reinforced the importance of food support during a tough time. With evictions compounding financial stress, food support is more important than ever. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Make pet food pantries more accessible for all community members.

  • Inform community members of all the food pantries being offered in your community to provide them with more accessibility to resources.

  • Here is an example of BARCS Pet Owner Resources Guide.
  • Share food pantry resource guide on all social media platforms, community bulletins and with local community agencies.

Host or co-host a pet food pantry to help distribute food and supplies.

  • Work with other non-profits in your community to pool resources for eviction-specific support.

  • Ask for donations of gently used supplies like leashes/collars, crates, dog houses, etc.

  • Appeal to large community groups or clubs to donate care package items and host assembly-day activities to prepare a ready supply.

  • Create a volunteer team of trained ambassadors who will serve as assigned support for families throughout their housing crisis.

  • Provide pet food directly to human food pantries and allow them to distribute food.
    Work to lift agency restrictions in access to pet food.

  • Deliver food to community members who do not have transportation or can not access the food pantry.
  • Ask for donations of gently used supplies like leashes/collars, crates, dog houses, etc.

  • Connect with large community groups or clubs you are already involved in to donate care package items and host assembly-day activities to prepare a ready supply.

  • Deliver care packages to the hotels/motels, call around to find possibly temporary, pet-friendly housing, or assume other duties to lessen the burden on existing shelter staff.

  • Here is a guide on how to safely distribute products during COVID.

Additional Pet Food Resources

People at PVAS Food Pantry

Palm Valley Animal Society Starts Monthly Pet Food Pantry

Palm Valley Animal Society started a monthly pet food pantry to give extra support to families with pets. Unemployment rates were up in the Rio Grande Valley making it hard on so many families, and PVAS knew animals provide comfort and emotional support to their people.

Cincinnati Animal CARE Partners with Community for Pet and Human Food Pantry

The pandemic has made life harder for so many people. Cincinnati Animal CARE partnered with a local food pantry to provide almost 200 pounds of dog and cat food to people with pets.

Veterinary Care

Access to affordable veterinary care is limited or nonexistent for many pet owners even without the concern of stable and secure housing. Providing free veterinary care for people and pets experiencing temporary displacement can prevent an already stressful situation from worsening. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Build a network of veterinarians interested in and willing to contribute or partner during the crisis.

  • Reach out to your pets’ veterinarians about joining the effort.

Host or co-host a drive-thru/stationary clinic to provide low-cost vet care, vaccines, microchipping and licensure.

  • Check out Kansas City Pet Project's toolkit on how they organized their Community Drive-Thru Clinic.

  • Spread the news on all social media platforms, community bulletins and with local community agencies.
  • Assist staff in organizing and running service events. 

  • Reshare the news on all social media platforms, community bulletins and with local community agencies.

Create “general care” guidelines for companion animal guardians who may not be able to access vet care/you may not be able to assist.

LifeLine Animal Project's Stay Together Fund

Lifeline Animal Project’s new fund, the Stay Together Fund, is supported by giving and subsidizing veterinary services at the Community Animal Center clinic for those who cannot afford the care.

LifeLine Animal Project's Pets for Life Program

Ericka is caring for the cats in her apartment complex and Lifeline was happy to help with their Pets for Life Program. Lifeline offered transport for all seven of her cats to their clinic, where they received free vaccines, microchips, and spay/neuter surgeries. Providing resources like veterinary care at no cost helps keep people with the pets they love.

Behavior advice and trainer referrals

Changes in environments, stressful moves and being around new people can all create behavioral issues like barking, lunging on leash or not using the litter box. Offering behavioral support can be lifesaving.

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Offer behavior support from volunteers in shelter or at home.

  • Create behavior support email address and/or phone number.

  • Develop protocols regarding support (e.g., what volunteers can handle vs. what gets escalated, HOW support is provided, what resources/handouts you will send, how communication is tracked, follow-up).

  • Develop training for volunteers who provide support.

  • Identify people to supervise, train, and schedule volunteers.

  • Develop a list of local trainers and behavior professionals for referral.

Offer free training programs or resources.

  • Investigate whether your organization or other organizations in your community offer free resources.

Additional Behavior Resources

Pet Fees and Deposits

Pet fees and deposits can be very expensive and simply out of reach for many people, especially when already struggling with costs associated with moving or loss of income. No one should have their family torn apart over a few hundred dollars. Offering to cover a one-time fee is money well spent when the result is keeping a family intact.

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Create a special fund for pet fees and deposits.

  • Reach out to donors that could potentially bring in new support.

  • Create a case for support to help donors, volunteers, foundations and other stakeholders understand the fiscal implications of increased animal intake versus keeping pets with their people.

  • Reallocate funds from other areas to respond to the eviction disaster.

  • Share donation campaigns on all social media platforms to engage new donors.

  • Create a flyer to inform community members that your organization can provide pet deposit/fee assistance.

  • Reach out to local property management companies and let them know that your organization is providing pet fee/deposit assistance for tenants in need of support.

  • Here is an example of KC Pet Project’s Pet Care Assistance Program application which can provide funding for pet deposits and fees, in addition to other financial assistance.

  • Check out the Pets For Life Sustainability Guide for detailed guidance on how to message and fundraise for pet owner support services.
  • Reach out to donors that could potentially bring in new support and connect with people from within your network to become new donors. 

  • Reshare donation campaign on all social media platforms to engage new donors.

  • Identify and list local property management companies.

Provide community members resources on tenant rights.

  • Inform yourself on tenant rights and share this information with community members. See resources on tenant rights by state.

  • Use The HSUS Pets are Welcome toolkit to learn how to work with property owners to build more pet-inclusive rental properties, a key solution in our efforts to help mitigate unnecessary pet surrenders due to widespread evictions.
  • Inform yourself on tenant rights to help spread awareness to community members  See resources on tenant rights by state.

  • Use The HSUS Pets are Welcome toolkit to learn how to work with property owners to build more pet-inclusive rental properties, a key solution in our efforts to help mitigate unnecessary pet surrenders due to widespread evictions.

Reach out to property owners to advocate for human-animals families in need of financial assistance for pet deposits/fees.

  • Use The HSUS Pets are Welcome toolkit  to learn more about helpful talking points to use when reaching out to property owners.
     
  • Engage with smaller property management companies that staff or volunteers may have strong existing connections with to see how that connection can serve as beneficial in getting them to support keeping families together. If these smaller companies agree to reconsider their pet policies, then larger property management companies may reconsider their pet policies, as well.
  •  Use The HSUS Pets are Welcome toolkit to learn more about helpful talking points to use when reaching out to property owners.

  • Identify smaller property management companies that staff and volunteers may have strong connections with.
One of Jade's Chihuahuas

Jade, Daisy, Coco, Tiny, and Benjie

When Jade was going through a tough time and could not afford a pet deposit for her four Chihuahuas, Daisy, Coco, Tiny, and Benjie, she thought she had no other option than to surrender them to the shelter. When she arrived at Pima Animal Care Center with the pups, she found out about a program that would assist with funding her pet deposits and the pups did not have to be taken into the shelter! She was set up with free spay/neuter services, and Jade and her pups were able to stay together!

Hotel and Motel Partnerships

Many people have no friends or family to stay with when evicted, so residing in a hotel or motel is an unfortunate reality. When hotels allow pets there is often an additional fee required, so similar to a pet fee/deposit, being able to cover a one-time fee will be incredibly helpful. In addition, it’s important to acknowledge that from the hotel/motel perspective their biggest concern is potential property damage, so validating that concern can go a long way in developing rapport and responsiveness with your local hotels and motels.

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Build a list of pet friendly hotels.

  • Research and create a list of pet-friendly hotels in your community to share with community members. 

  • Reach out to hotels to request and encourage relaxation of policies on allowing pets. Since their biggest concern is usually potential property damage, it might be easier to reduce the nightly rate compared to reducing their pet fees. 

  • Reach out to the someone in the hotel/motel sales department. They have the ability to make deals.
  • Research and create a list of pet-friendly hotels in your community to share with community members.

Provide support for human-animal families while they stay in hotel/motels.

  • Provide families with support packages detailed above to make sure they have everything they need while staying at hotels/motels.

  • Consider providing additional supplies that can help prevent property damage, such as crates and kong wobblers.

Partner with hotels and motels.

  • You can use this sample dialogue to start the conversation with hotels and motels.

Create a special fund for pet hotel fees.

  • Reach out to donors in and outside of the animal welfare industry that could potentially bring in new support.

  • Create a case for support to help donors, volunteers, foundations and other stakeholders understand the fiscal implications of increased animal intake versus keeping pets with their people.

  • Allocate funds to cover pet hotel fees so that pets can remain with their people.

  • Share donation campaigns on all social media platforms to engage new donors.

  • Check out the Pets For Life Sustainability Guide for detailed guidance on how to message and fundraise for pet owner support services.
  • Reach out to donors that could potentially bring in new support and connect with people from within your network to become new donors. 

  • Reshare donation campaign on all social media platforms to engage new donors.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

One in every four adults in the United States have some type of disability. Many people are not aware of or do not understand the legal requirement for reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act that allows people to have emotional support animals. This can be one more option for keeping people and pets together. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Provide community members resources on ESA rights.

  • Here is a quick reference sheet on service and assistance animals from Opening Doors.
  • Inform yourself on ESA rights to help spread awareness to community members. 

 

Provide community members resources on tenant rights.

  • Inform yourself on tenant rights and share this information with community members. See tenant rights by state. 

 

  • Use The HSUS Pets are Welcome toolkit to learn how to work with property owners to build more pet-inclusive rental properties, a key solution in our efforts to help mitigate unnecessary pet surrenders due to widespread evictions.

 

  • Use The HSUS Pets are Welcome toolkit to learn how to work with property owners to build more pet-inclusive rental properties, a key solution in our efforts to help mitigate unnecessary pet surrenders due to widespread evictions.

Transportation

In providing local services and connecting community members to local resources and supporting agencies, many individuals and families may not have access to reliable transportation that allows them to also bring their pets along. In many communities that may be considered resource deserts, where resources and services may not exist in close proximity to community members, it is important to find out if individuals and families are in need of transportation assistance to receive the support they need. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Know what’s available in your community.

  • Learn about current pet travel policies within public transportation in your community. 

  • Learn about current pet travel policies within rideshare transportation in your community.
  • Learn about current pet travel policies within public transportation in your community.

  • Learn about current pet travel policies within rideshare transportation in your community.

Identify ways to provide transportation support within your organization.

  • Recruit a team of reliable staff and volunteers that would be willing to transport pets and their people to service providers.

  • Let your team know if you are a reliable driver willing and able to transport pets and their people that may not have access to pet friendly transport. 

  • Volunteers should always use crates if transporting animals.

Human Social Services

More than ever is there a need for human and animal services to learn from each other and collaborate on ways to better support human-animal families. Pets are finally being recognized as members of the family and social service agencies are learning more about the human-animal bond and the impact it can have on families of all kinds. Being evicted may just be one of the many challenges an individual/family and their pet(s) may be faced with, so being able to connect them to further social services can result in a better outcome for the entire family. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Connect community members with local social services.

  • Use the following links to connect community members with local social service agencies:
  • You may also find that other local agencies have created resource lists of local services.
  • When interacting with community members, suggest these two links to identify services: 
  • You may also find that other local agencies have created resource lists of local services.

Create a list of local social service resources to share with community members.

  • Identify social service agencies in your area. 

  • Assist staff in sharing the directory and resource flyer with community members.

Build partnerships with local social services.

  • Reach out to potential social service partners and discuss the importance of collaborating to make sure human-animal families have access to all the resources in their community during this crisis. Make sure to emphasize how keeping families together can benefit their clients and not just their animals. 

  • Create action plans and resource kits for people being evicted who have pets. Rather than bringing the pet directly to the shelter, provide the care package, resource options, etc. so the pet owner is easily able to find your resources.
  • Make a list of social service agencies in the area.

Legal Aid Services

If a family or individual is in need of legal support, check out our advocacy section for more tools on how to assist them in finding free legal assistance in your community.

Support for Domestic Violence Survivors

If a family is facing eviction as well as experiencing domestic violence, they may be in need of temporary housing while they stay at a domestic violence shelter. 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters have reported that their abuser has harmed (injured, maimed, threatened, killed) their pet within the past year. Families coming into your organization may be dealing with multiple stressors in their lives and making sure they have the appropriate support is key. Consider the many ways your organization can possibly provide support. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Share resources on the legal rights of survivors of domestic violence.

 

  • If someone is evicted, denied housing, or had assistance terminated because they are a victim of domestic violence, they are also likely a victim of sex discrimination, in direct violation of the Fair Housing Act.

 

  • If someone is evicted, denied housing, or had assistance terminated because they are a victim of domestic violence, they are also likely a victim of sex discrimination, in direct violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Provide financial support resources for DV survivors looking to temporarily board their pets.

  • Become informed on how animal welfare organizations can keep DV survivors and their pets safe.

 

 

  • Become informed on how animal welfare organizations can keep DV survivors and their pets safe and help spread awareness about the many ways Red Rover can help.

Partner with DV shelters.

  • If your organization does not yet offer protective boarding in response to domestic violence, consider reaching out to domestic violence shelters in your area to see how your organizations can support each other in keeping families together, safely.

 

  • Assist staff in building a list of local DV shelters and support agencies.

Additional Resources to Support Domestic Violence Survivors

Examples of Crisis Support and Boarding for Survivors of Domestic Violence

People will only utilize support services if they know the services exist and feel comfortable seeking the support. Promote your programs clearly and concisely, translate into languages other than English if your community demographics indicate the need, and anticipate ways people in under-served areas will access the information. See how to translate materials here. See examples of support service program descriptions from Denver Animal Protection and Animal Protective Association of Missouri:

Support for Guardians of Community Cats

A displaced, incapacitated, absent, or otherwise concerned caregiver may need supporting services in order to continue providing for community cats within their charge without the need for shelter surrender or relocation of the cats.

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Provide weather protection supplies.

  • Solicit donations and building materials for shelters. Arrange for community build-days.
  • Build and distribute cat houses. Source supplies for housing.

Expand accessibility to food pantries to include community cat guardians.

  • Inform community cat guardians about pet pantry program.

  • Source supplies for pet food pantry.

  • Ensure community cat caregivers are eligible for pet food pantry assistance.
  • Gather food and supplies. Deliver care packages.

Provide guardians with information about Trap Neuter Return(TNR) programs.

  • Provide a list of all community resources and refer to the most appropriate provider.

Provide trapping and transport assistance.

Provide medical care for community cats.

  • Connect caregiver to resources within the community such as discounted private practice.

  • Schedule medical care if there is an in-house clinic within the shelter.

  • Provide needed medical supplies.
  • Deliver prescribed supplies.

  • Provide assistance with administration of medication to cats, if needed.

Provide solutions to keeping cats in their original habitat: caregiver leaving.

  • Refer to the map of colony locations and caregivers, if there is one.

  • Provide the caregiver with information on how to taper feeding schedules to adjust to an alternate caregiver or self-sustenance.

  • Consider if it is appropriate to relocate the cats with the caregiver and provide assistance, if needed (cages, traps, supplies, instructions.)
  • Recruit new caregivers, if needed.

  • Check to see if there are multiple caregivers.

  • Temporarily feed the cats if caregiver is incapacitated or temporarily unavailable.

  • Transport cats, kennels, supplies.

  • Assist with temporary care of caged cats being relocated.

Provide solutions to keeping cats in their original habitat: caregiver staying.

  • Assess and mitigate conflict if neighborhood complaints are cause of possible separation/removal of cats.

  • Advocate on behalf of the caregiver
    If caregiver is temporarily incapacitated or absent (illness, DV, COVID, out of town, etc), connect temporary caregivers with resources.
  • Provide mitigation support and monitor the situation.

  • Deliver/install cat deterrents, if necessary.

  • Provide temporary cat care for absent or incapacitated caregivers.

Identifying Temporary Housing Solutions in Your Community

Assist pet owners in finding temporary solutions within their own network.

Assisting the Community with Peer to Peer Temporary Solutions

Assist pet owners in finding temporary solutions within their own network. The secondary option is to provide temporary care and housing for a person’s pet while the pet owner seeks new housing accommodations.

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Assist community members in identifying existing resources within their own networks.

  • Encourage people to think through their own circle of friends, family and social networks for temporary placement of their pets.

  • Offering the assistance package, veterinary care, food and behavior advice listed in Option 1 can open up options for people willing to provide a short-term place for the pet to stay.
  • Encourage people to think through their own circle of friends, family and social networks for temporary placement of their pets.

Provide match-making tools for community members to find temporary placement on their own.

  • Share Temporary Pet Guardians and 911fosterpets as match-making resources in your community.

Additional Peer to Peer Resources

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center 

Another example comes from a program enacted by St. Hubert’s in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy but a concept that can be applied to the current crisis. They provided a range of supportive services such as food, supplies, behavior support, veterinary care, and live support for matchmaking and help setting up an online account. They also provided a foster contract as a courtesy and strongly recommended people use it. By sharing an executed foster contract, people were then given access to the suite of supportive services. An online social network for people to find one another was set up on a Ning.com platform and used a VOIP phone number that could be forwarded to staff’s cell phones. St. Hubert’s moderated the forum and tried to keep geographically distant foster interest from engaging so the animals stayed in the state or tri-state area.

Three Senior Cats Stay Together

Three senior cats had been living together their whole lives in a safe outdoor environment, but their caretaker was no longer able to care for them. The community rallied together and was quick to share the story of these kitties. Now they have a new home without ever having to be taken in by shelter! Thanks to this community collaboration, the senior cats can stay together and are able to go straight from one home to another.

Self-Rehoming

If the individual or family has reviewed all options and decided that rehoming their pet is the best alternative for them at this time, it is important to not pass judgement and respect their decision. Instead, there are several ways in which animal shelters can provide rehoming support without having the animal enter the shelter. 

Action Steps Tasks for Staff and High Level Volunteers Tasks for Any Volunteers

Provide tools on self-rehoming, if necessary for the human-animal family.

  • Share Self-Rehoming Tool At-A-Glance Comparison to social channels.
  • Assist with moderating and funneling caretakers who need to rehome from Facebook, NextDoor, Craigslist etc. in their respective neighborhoods.
  • Moderate and redirect self rehome outreach to KFT services.
References
CDC Newsroom, (2018, August 16). 1 in 4 US Adults live with a disability [Press Release]. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0816-disability.html
 
Domestic Violence and Pets. (n.d.) Red Rover. Retrieved from https://redrover.org/resource/domestic-violence-and-pets/
 
Eviction Response Toolkit. (2019). The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved from https://humanepro.org/eviction-toolkit