Keeping People and Pets Together

Published February 2020

In communities around the United States, a significant number of people experiencing homelessness own petsYet, shelter policies in many communities prevent people from entering shelter with their animal companions, leaving them with limited access to shelter, services, and housing.

Evidence shows that animal companionship is fortifying and contributes to the emotional well-being of people experiencing homelessness, including encouraging owners to obtain sobriety, leave abusive relationships, and avoid incarceration.  

As part of the National Alliance to End Homelessness efforts to advance low-barrier emergency shelter modelsit has partnered with PetSmart Charities in developing the Keeping People and Pets Together resource. The Alliance also consulted various stakeholders – including Continuum of Care (CoC) leadership, homeless service providers, animal welfare organizations, and people experiencing homelessness who have pets – to help determine policies and practices that can improve services for people experiencing homelessness with pets. This document can additionally serve as the foundation for a larger system-wide action plan or new initiatives that actively respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness with pets.