Homeless services nonprofit Father Joe’s Villages received a $548,000 grant from the state to keep people and their pets together with pet-friendly shelter programs, it was announced Monday.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Pet Assistance and Support Program provided the grant, which will support expenses such as staffing, pet supplies, and food, veterinarian care, training classes, and the creation of a pet bathing area
“We thank the state of California for their support in helping us welcome our clients’ beloved animal companions,” said Deacon Jim Vargas, president, and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “When we can better assist clients in meeting their unique needs, including supporting their pets, it is easier to build the trust needed to help clients secure their path to stable housing.”
The grant will also make it easier for clients to leave their pets in a safe, comfortable crate or cage while they search for jobs or go to work, according to a statement from the nonprofit. It will also allow Father Joe’s staff to provide supplies and items like toys and puzzles to the pets while their owners are away from the shelter.
According to the nonprofit’s data, in 2021, 103 households with 120 animals entered and stayed at a Father Joe’s Villages shelter and 100% of pet owners at a Father Joe’s facility said having their companion animals with them helped them work toward ending their homelessness.
“Most pet owners would do whatever it takes to care for, protect and keep their animal because pets are family,” said Jesse Casement, division director of client services at Father Joe’s Villages. “To truly assist our clients, it is crucial that we welcome their entire family – including those members with fur, feathers, shells, or scales into our shelter facilities.”
By looking after pets, Father Joe’s staff believe it is possible for people experiencing homelessness to get resources while keeping their pets, making them much more likely to seek services and subsequently more likely to end their homelessness.
–City News Service