Supporting Homeless Individuals & Their Pets
Who We Are:
The Hamilton PAWS committee is a collaboration of community partners working to address the gaps in services and to address the needs of low income and vulnerable people in our community who are homeless, marginally housed, incarcerated, hospitalized or experiencing violence and currently seeking emergency accommodations and/or cannot afford emergency health care for their animal companions
Currently in Hamilton, the shelter system does not accept pets which place our clients in a difficult position if they have lost their housing. People usually choose living on the streets rather than giving away their pet companion because there is no place for their friend to go. Clients have limited resources and are financially unable to place their pet in temporary kenneling if they need a place to live, need to enter a recovery program, have been hospitalized or are incarcerated. Most of the fostering or animal welfare organizations are designed to accept surrendered animals and are not able to take animal companions on a temporary basis where they would then be returned. Our clients have experienced barriers in accessing other programs that require a referring agency to bring the animal for a limited stay (10 days) and if the animal is left beyond that time, they are not able to have to the animal returned. In our experience it is very difficult to find suitable housing in such a short time. Recovery/treatment program are often longer than 10 days. Most kenneling services require that an animal companion is vaccinated. Most people are unable to pay for these costly vaccinations and check-ups.
At times our clients have paid a vet bill instead of their rent placing them at risk of losing their housing and becoming homeless. Our clients are responsible pet owners and often they put their pet's need before their own. When they are experiencing a crisis, there are very little options for their pets and themselves.
What we want to do:
Purchase quality food, treats and other items for pets to distribute to local food banks
Connect with a local kenneling program to help with costs so people who are homeless or at risk of homelesness and need to access the emergency shelter, need to go to a recovery/treatment program or are hospitalized can have a safe place for their pet to go
Connect with a local vet to provide low cost vaccinations when an animal companion needs to enter a kenneling service
With funding we would be able help cover costs for kennel services for emergency situations, provide transportation funds for their animal companion and make sure the pet is able to be vaccinated before entering a kennel service. People would also have access to quaulity food and other items for their animal companion at local food banks.