Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $399,570)
The Battered Women’s Shelter (BWS) serving Summit and Medina Counties, Ohio, respectfully requests funding to provide emergency shelter and transitional housing services for survivors with companion animals. If funded, this project will increase the agency’s staff capacity to support companion animal needs; provide staff and volunteer training to strengthen and expand supports and services to survivors with companion animals; continue and expand partnerships with local animal welfare organizations to provide veterinary care as well as off-site boarding when needed; improve awareness of available housing for survivors with companion animals, and provide funds to purchase pet care supplies and pay fees related to housing survivors with their companion animals to ensure stable and permanent housing for the survivor and their pet.a
BWS opened the largest domestic violence shelter in the state of Ohio in 2017, a 40,000 square foot building offering 154 boards, and a potential 54,208 shelter nights each year. BWS is well-positioned to better accommodate companion animals upon completion in 2023 of the Hope & Healing Pet Shelter, an on-site kennel to safely shelter dogs and cats. In addition, the Medina Emergency DV Shelter is completing renovations in 2023 to offer double the capacity of the original shelter with 10 bedrooms and the ability to house 31 survivors each night, providing over 11,000 available shelter nights for survivors and eligible companion animals. Combined, the Summit and Medina Emergency DV shelters estimate serving a minimum of one hundred (100) companion animals each year.
The importance of the human-animal bond, especially during times of stress and trauma, is well documented. Providing the resources for victims of DV and their children to maintain closeness with their companion animal when fleeing an unsafe home is necessary to reduce barriers that victims frequently face in seeking safe shelter as well as to assist in the healing from the traumatic victimization. BWS is a qualifying agency with the Sheltering Animals and Families Together program (SAF-T), and due to its life-saving potential and benefits to the survivor and animal, BWS makes every effort to shelter companion animals or safely board them off-site. This funding will allow BWS to make needed improvements in the agency’s capacity to support survivors with companion animals through emergency shelter and transitional housing at a time when demand for services is steadily increasing in Summit and Medina Counties.