Support Unhoused People and Pets

Speak up to provide critical support for unhoused people with pets.

OAA PROGRAM AREA: Pet Assistance Resources

ACTION LEVEL: Federal

Hundreds of thousands of Americans experience homelessness every year. For many, their greatest source of comfort and unconditional love is their pet. Sadly, many pet owners struggle to access support, and may even refuse lifesaving shelter if it means that they must leave their pets behind.

On June 9th, 2023, Representatives Jason Crow (D-CO), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Nancy Mace (R-SC) introduced the bi-partisan Providing for Unhoused People with Pets (PUPP) Act to Congress. If passed, this bill would establish a grant program to support shelters and transitional housing facilities that accommodate both people and their pets. This proactive approach recognizes the impact of the human-animal bond and aims to reduce the barriers that often prevent families with pets from accessing shelter.

Alongside the PUPP Act, the Pets Belong with Families Act takes a broader perspective on supporting families experiencing housing insecurity and their pets. The goal of this bill to prohibit public housing providers from imposing breed restrictions on residents’ pets, protecting 1.2 million households who rely on public housing from unsupported, discriminatory policies.

What You Can Do:

Contact your U.S. Representatives right now, and urge them to cosponsor these bills using the sample letter below.

Share this Action Alert on your social media to raise awareness, educate, and encourage your family, friends, and co-workers in Ohio to contact their U.S. Representatives about these important bills!

Take Action:

Dear Representative _______ ,

I am writing today to urge you to cosponsor and support both the Providing for Unhoused People with Pets Act of 2022 and the Pets Belong With Families Act to protect and shelter people and animals in our community.

Unfortunately, when those experiencing homelessness seek shelter, many find that interim and permanent housing options do not have the proper facilities to accommodate pets. As a result, individuals experiencing homelessness often face an impossible choice: seek a roof over their heads or stay with their pet. I believe that pets are family, and that no one should have to choose between family and shelter.

More than 70% of U.S. households include pets and the social support they offer has been shown to improve both the physical and mental health of their owners. Pets provide comfort, companionship, a sense of safety, and promote stronger feelings of self-worth. Among the unhoused population, animal companionship is particularly fortifying and may encourage individuals to achieve sobriety, avoid incarceration, or leave an abuser. Despite persistent misconceptions, the pets of people experiencing homelessness are typically well loved and well cared for. For the unhoused individuals who are animal guardians, their pets provide a sense of responsibility and purpose that helps them improve their lives, while reducing loneliness through unconditional love and companionship. Still, many pet-owning individuals and families continue to face limited access to shelter, services, and housing.

I urge you to cosponsor and support the following pieces of legislation:

Providing for Unhoused People with Pets Act of 2022: H.R.8074 (Rep. Crow [D-CO])

If passed, H.R.8074 would establish a grant program for interim and permanent housing that accommodates individuals and families who are homeless and have pets. These funds would also provide for additional veterinary services, including spaying and neutering, vaccinations, and other basic medical care. This essential funding will help the most vulnerable members of our community access the support they need to care for their pets.

Pets Belong With Families Act: H.R.5828 (Rep. Schiff [D-CA-28])

If passed, H.R.5828 would prohibit public housing agencies from imposing breed restrictions on pets owned by residents of public housing units.

There is no evidence that breed-specific restrictions make communities safer. In fact, a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations have rejected the validity of breed restrictions, including the Center for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the American Bar Association, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This bill will protect the 1.2 million households who rely on public housing from discriminatory policies based on the breed of their pet.

As your constituent, I urge you to cosponsor both the Providing for Unhoused People with Pets Act of 2022 and the Pets Belong With Families Act to address a part of the growing housing crisis, while keeping families together.

Sincerely,

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