Thirty to forty million renters across the country are at risk of being evicted from their homes due to the pandemic and resulting unemployment. this means that an estimated 10 to 11 million pets will be displaced as a result of these evictions. This webinar unpacks the interrelation of housing shortages and insecurity to the outcomes of pets.
Leading the discussion is Jessica Simpson, the Senior Public Policy Specialist for the Humane Society of the United States. Her work focuses on companion animal policy and developing legislative strategies focusing on eliminating housing barriers for pet owners and expanding access to pet services.
Specifics of Jessica’s discussion are on:
- A backgrounder on how COVID-19 impacted people and likewise created issues for pets.
- The ongoing housing shortage and insecurity crisis further exacerbated by the pandemic and how the federal government responded to alleviate its impact on the citizens.
- Key terminologies and concepts to familiarize with to better understand the intersection of animal welfare and the housing issue.
- Low wages and the housing crisis: The reality that rental housing costs have far outpaced the growth of median rental incomes.
- The disproportionate distribution between available housing options vis-à-vis the households’ income and ability to afford the housing options.
- The limited resources available to people in need of housing assistance coupled with bureaucratic processes and real-life implications of moving to the household that pose additional hurdles to secure housing.
- Quality of life outcomes for people who go through eviction.
- The value in understanding the housing crisis and how human issues inadvertently drive issues with animal neglect and cruelty.
- Barriers that create challenges to pet owners in securing pet inclusive housing.
- The limited supply of truly pet-inclusive housing.
- Restrictive pet policies that put limitations around breed, weight, number, species, and age of animals allowed.
- Financial costs and exorbitant fees, rents, and upfront deposits involved in housing a pet.
- How traditional ‘pet-friendly’ policies negatively impact not only the families and the pets but also the shelters, local resources, and the community.
- What pet inclusive policies are and how implementing this is generally better for the entire community.
- How the Federal Housing act enacted as part of the New Deal inadvertently imposed limitations on who could purchase a home or live in a particular area created systemic issues on inequality and the racial wealth gap.
- Studies and heat maps that illustrate the correlation between opportunity index, poverty rates, available housing, pet-friendly apartment listings, and pet services and resources and how these all play a part in the systemic issue of housing insecurity.
- The different sources of information to better understand the dynamics, nuances, and legal implications of the housing crisis.
- Familiarizing with the common reasons why someone may be evicted.
- A case example demonstrating the intersection between tenants’ rights and how animal welfare control officers can best serve in such situations.
- Ways for animal control officers can be advocates of tenants’ rights by:
- Connecting with key resources that can best provide guidelines, best practices, and help to address the situations they’re faced with.
- Upholding the safety of both humans and animals.
- Raising awareness on tenants’ rights and pet protections within the community.
- Legislations implemented and effected in different parts of the United States surrounding tenants’ rights when it comes to keeping pets.
Questions raised by the webinar attendees are about:
- Programs and agencies that can foster animals due to an eviction.
- Research related to breed bans.
- How to best deal with feral cats left by tenants.
- Demographic breakdowns of statistics mentioned in the webinar.
- Exceptions and protections extended to victims of domestic or sexual violence who need shelter with their pets.
- Resources and workaround to help someone secure housing when the pet is just a little bit over the weight limit allowed.
Other Webinars with HSUS:
- Preparing for Court: Tips for Effective Testimony about Animal Crimes
- Wildlife Reuniting/Renesting Birds (Part 2)
- Feb 24: Pets and Evictions: Keeping Families Intact in a Crisis (this webinar)
- April 13: Handling “Nuisance” Wildlife Calls
- Aug 4: Resolving Roosting Bird Conflicts
- Oct 6: Responding to Calls and Concerns about Bats
Resources and Handouts
- HSUS Eviction Response Toolkit
- Resource Guide And Terminology
- Community Veterinary Outreach Animal Care Guidelines for Emergency Co-Sheltering
- Animal Care Guidelines for Emergency Co-Sheltering Pocket Guide
- Human-Animal Support Services: Advocacy
- Human-Animal Support Services: Case Management
- Human-Animal Support Services: Offering Services in Other Languages
- Human-Animal Support Services: Support Services
- Human-Animal Support Services: Temporary Placement
- Article Link: Pet Friendly for Whom? An Analysis of Pet Fees in Texas Rental Housing, by Applebaum, et al.
- Infographic: The Eviction Crisis Matters for Animal Welfare and Here’s Why
- Article Referenced (link): The Black Man’s Dog: The Social Context of Breed Specific Legislation by Ann Linder
- Emergency Sheltering Resource – Red Rover
- Minnesota Grant from PetSmart Charities for Sheltering
- Article Link: How to Handle Landlord-Tenant Disputes over Companion Animals (ALDF)
- Resource: Legal Assistance Request form (ALDF)
- “This is a very hot topic and needs more review, I would be highly interested in learning more and hearing about different programs shelters have started.” — Ashley
- “That this subject is very complicated and opened my eyes to the challenges that rental owners, with pets, face.” — Sharon
- “Great presentation! I was a little late but still got a lot out of it. Really glad to hear a conversation on this important topic with some resources.” — Erin
- “There was more to the topic than I thought about. All the info was very helpful.” — Graham
This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.
Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues.