Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $471,757)
Urban Resource Institute’s mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities, particularly communities of color and other disenfranchised populations, to end cycles of violence, homelessness, poverty, and trauma by increasing safety and resiliency. After more than 40 years, URI is the largest provider of DV residential services in the country and offers the largest co-living program for DV survivors with pets.
URI recognized a gap in emergency shelter options for DV survivors with pets and launched our innovative People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program in 2013. URI was the first and only DV shelter provider in NYC to provide a co-living option, in which pets join their owners in individual apartments rather than off-site or elsewhere on-site.
URI proposes a three-pronged strategy to expand pet-friendly shelter options in NYC:
1) Expand access to pet-friendly beds by adding 132 new units in two URI transitional shelters opening in 2021. This will enable us to serve 125 families and 150 pets annually. Families will receive a full range of social services to help them heal and become independent. Pets will receive access to food, low- or no cost veterinary care, toys and supplies and species-specific enrichment. Both humans and pets will receive trauma-specific care.
2) Improve and increase PALS Program resources to a) support residents in identifying pet-friendly housing post-discharge from emergency and transitional shelter locations with the PALS program; b) provide guidance and assistance with referrals for pet-friendly shelter or housing to referred clients whom we cannot accommodate in the PALS program; and c) foster and publicize resources for survivors with pets in NYC by creating a resource guide for navigating NYC’s shelter systems, housing searches, and pet ownership; by distributing copies to 100 PALS clients and 20 social service providers annually.
3) Train local animal welfare agencies, DV, and human service providers in NYC’s Qualifying Opportunity Zones on a) the link between DV and animal abuse and neglect; b) the critical human-animal bond in DV trauma recovery; c) the needs of DV survivors with pets and best practices to support them; and d) best practices to design and deliver DV services to accommodate companion animals and protect survivors’ safety and confidentiality. URI will support the training of 100 staff from local agencies with approaches in communicating about DV, and provide resources and materials to 5 local animal shelters annually to reinforce staff’s bridge of communication for confidential referrals to PALS and other DV services.