Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $499,880)
YWCA OKC is the only certified emergency shelter for domestic violence victims in Oklahoma County, the most populous county (797,434 people or 20% of the state population) with the highest rate of domestic violence-related homicide (21 of 96 victim homicides) in Oklahoma. Research shows failure to consider companion animals in emergency and transitional housing for domestic violence victims is a barrier to safety for families. Currently, in the Oklahoma County service area, there are no emergency shelter or transitional beds for domestic violence victims and pets together; no onsite or offsite temporary or foster housing options for pets that are not dogs or cats; no victim services trained staff to provide trauma-specific support services to victims with companion animals; and lack of understanding in the community on linkages between domestic violence and animal maltreatment.
Recognizing the urgent need to protect domestic violence victims from further abuse and the important role of companion animals in victim safety, resilience, and recovery, this project aims to increase shelter and transitional housing options for victims of domestic violence with companion animals. To accomplish this YWCA OKC will 1) increase the number of emergency shelter and transitional beds for domestic violence victims and pets housed together; 2) increase the diversity of pets served on- and off-site; 3) provide trauma-specific support services to victims with companion animals; and 4) provide training to community stakeholders on linkages between domestic violence and animal maltreatment. Collectively, these efforts will enable more domestic violence victims to leave abusive households and secure safe housing for themselves and companion animal.