- Part of:
Supporting people who are homeless and their pets.
Pet owners facing homelessness are set to benefit from better support finding a home which allows them to keep their animals.
New guidance recommends that landlords and local authorities introduce:
- temporary shelters with ‘dog friendly’ communal rooms
- improved training for service staff in the importance and benefits of supporting people to remain with their pets and how to work with animals
- risk assessments to ensure there are no issues with staff members being allergic to, or afraid of, animals
- pet friendly policies that people sign and agree to in order to access accommodation
The guidance, developed by the homeless support service Simon Community on behalf of the Scottish Government, also includes information on existing services available.
To further support this, a new Homeless Pet Friendly Officer will work in partnership with the Dog’s Trust and Simon Community, helping landlords recognise the importance and value of pets to people experiencing homelessness.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“Pets offer comfort and stability and much-needed companionship. For someone facing homelessness it is already an extremely difficult time. Being forced to choose between their pets and a safe place to live is choice no one should have to make.
“That’s why I’m glad to see the positive recommendations in this report. It clearly sets out why pets matter and provides practical steps to support social landlords in helping people experiencing homelessness to maintain their relationships with their pets.
“A person centred approach is a key part of our ambition for delivering the Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan, and I’m clear that respecting people’s meaningful and important relationships with their pets is an important element of that.”
CEO of Simon Community Lorraine McGrath said:
“No one should ever be placed in a position where they have to choose between a safe place to stay or their pet. What makes this choice even harder is the trauma and loss many of the people we support have experienced.
“Being asked to give up the only constant in their lives that gives them company, purpose, security and love simply adds more trauma and loss to an already awful journey. The great thing is it doesn't have to be like that, being dog and pet friendly isn't that hard. This document shares the experiences and opportunities to provide that approach.”
Hugh Hill, Simon Community
Tel: 0141 418 6980