By Laurel Meleski, RedRover Program Coordinator II
The Safe Escape grant program has helped families escape domestic violence with their pets since 2007. Since many domestic violence shelters are not yet pet-friendly, the Safe Escape grant covers the cost of boarding for pets while their family is safely residing at a domestic violence shelter.
Our average Safe Escape grant has typically covered about 45 days of boarding per family. However, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the program has seen both an increase in the number of requests for assistance and an increase in the amount of time some families need to board their pets.
Due to COVID-19, the already low availability of affordable housing combined with the lack of available employment means that people who are ready and willing to leave shelter cannot move out because they’re unable to find a job. Thanks to our Safe Escape grant extensions, we’ve been able to cover the cost of boarding for multiple families staying in domestic violence shelters. Now we can extend boarding up to 180 days.
Unfortunately, we do not expect to see a decrease in requests for assistance, or in more lengthy stays, anytime soon. But we are so grateful we can offer what extra help we can during this time of need.
It’s the generosity of our donors that make these lifesaving extensions possible. We hear from so many of the families we’ve helped that they are incredibly grateful for the peace of mind they receive knowing that their pets are taken care of – and that they may not have left their abusive situation if they had to leave their pet behind. Thank you for making a difference for pets and families in crisis!
One of the domestic violence advocates we work with had this to say:
“As an advocate, there is no better feeling than being able to provide services to meet our clients’ needs. When we are able to use resources like RedRover to meet their needs, they feel not only like we care about them, but that there is a larger community of people who care about them. For many survivors, their animals are their family so it is important to make sure they are safe when they decide to leave an abusive situation.”
The client also let us know how she felt about our help in boarding her two pets: “It meant the world to me. Now I can leave the shelter and pick up my babies and they will get to go with their mom to a nice place.”
You can make a lifesaving difference for people and pets by donating at RedRover.org/donaterelief.