How homeless shelters that allow pets make finding shelter and safety possible for the homeless with pets
Like any of the loving, pet-owners reading this, homeless people with pets consider their pets to not only be an important part of their lives, but to be family. Like any family members reading this, they will go to extreme measures to make sure their pet is fed, healthy and taken care of.
This explains the population of homeless with pets refusing shelter if their pets are not welcome. Homeless shelters that allow pets aim to lower this barrier to entry and serve homeless people with pets in a way that other shelters cannot.
Are pets allowed in homeless shelters?
While the list is short, very few homeless shelters in the area allow pets. Low-barrier shelters we know of and support in the Kansas City area are reStart, Rose Brooks, and Shelter KC. If you know of other local homeless shelters that allow pets, please send us a note and we will add them to the list!
Turning the pet-barrier for homeless with pets into an open door
When conducting outreach, many workers/volunteers share the story of various homeless individuals refusing assistance until their pet requires a medical/nutritional helping hand. Being informed and aware of homeless shelters that allow pets in your area is the perfect way to turn what once was a barrier to entry into an open door for these individuals.
Adopting a low-barrier approach to provide shelter
While many shelters currently accommodate service animals in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, more have started to accommodate emotional support animals through reasonable accommodation requests. Shelters are beginning to understand that the benefits of allowing pets outweigh the risks. Mental and physical health of shelter guests has improved and shelter staff state that they witness less anxiety and reduced loneliness. These positive effects can create a more calm atmosphere while staff aim to make plans for permanent housing.
To serve the entire homeless population with safe shelter while working on a person’s plan for permanent housing, communities must ensure that the homeless response system is low-barrier. Help us in urging more and more shelters in the Kansas City Metro to make it easier for homeless individuals with pets to seek shelter by accommodating animals as a part of their newly-adopted, low-barrier approach to providing shelter.
Please visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Emergency Shelter Learning Series to increase your understanding and knowledge of effective emergency shelter, including low-barrier access, diversion, and pet-friendly shelter.