February 13th, 2018
RedRover has been offering Safe Housing grants to help domestic violence shelters build co-sheltering spaces for people and pets since 2012.
Our newly expanded Safe Housing grants offer multiple solutions to help domestic violence shelters aid families in escaping with their animals. Often, people will not leave an abusive situation if they know they will have to leave an animal behind. While we think that co-sheltering is the optimum solution, domestic violence shelters are not always able accommodate pets. Sometimes space is an issue or their insurance will not allow animals; sometimes staff or board members need a bit more time and information before taking the pet-friendly leap. Our grants can help to build pet housing at the domestic violence shelter, or help domestic violence shelters work with partners in the community to offer other pet housing options.
RedRover’s Safe Housing grants for off-site building enable domestic violence shelters to partner with another local organization, such as an animal shelter or rescue sanctuary, to build housing at their facility specifically for animals whose owners are staying at the domestic violence shelter.
For some shelters, building dedicated on-site or off-site housing may not be an option. RedRover’s Safe Housing Startup grant will allow domestic violence shelters to create their own program to help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape together. For example, the domestic violence shelter could have an ongoing boarding arrangement with a nearby veterinarian or pet boarding facility to look after their client’s animals for a reduced rate while the client stays in shelter.
Regardless of which option domestic violence shelters choose, the willingness to consider helping families escape with their pets is a step in the right direction. Ensuring that clients are asked about pets during crisis and intake calls will help those clients understand that people see their pets as important family members. Also, bringing their pets with them when they escape shows children that caring for their animals is a good thing, and it provides some needed stability to an unstable and frightening time.
For more information about our expanded Safe Housing grant options, visit redrover.org/safehousing.