Pets and the Homeless

Carson City, NV (PressExposure) April 27, 2007 -- NEWS TIP Contact: Genevieve Frederick Paw Publishing 2255 Waterford Carson City, NV 89703 (775) 230-6229 Editors: Note that photos from the website are available with permission.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness report of January 2007 stated that between 804,212 - 744,313 people in the United States experienced homelessness in January 2005 on any given night. But more disturbing were the figures for the unshielded during that time, a record: 322,050. Reasons are across the broad as to why; from the economy, shortages of shelters and money to run them, low income housing shortages, the disabled, drug and alcohol addictions, spousal abuse and more. Or perhaps, people choose to life on the street because they have a pet and can not find a shelter that will allow their pets. There are no surveys for this information but it has been estimated by the National Coalition for the Homeless, Michael Stoops, Acting Executive Director that between five and ten percent of homeless people have dogs and/or cats. In some areas of the country that number is greater. Monte Fast, Executive Director of FISH (Friends in Service Helping) says the figure is more like twenty-five percent. Many rural homeless people live in places we do not see; they often are sleeping in the woods, campgrounds, cars, abandoned farm buildings, or other places not intended for habitation. Many more individuals and families in rural areas live in substandard housing or are doubled up. The January 2007 national count of homeless people found that nine percent live in rural areas.

There is mounting evidence that all people need pets. A leading proponent of this theory, Dr. Boris Levinson, Professor of Psychology at Yeshiva University and a clinical psychotherapist, stated in his 1997 book Pet-Oriented Child Psychotherapy: “In this very busy twentieth century, man is a lonely creature. There are too many alienated individuals who lack human companionship. They lack purpose and productivity. A simple addition to these lonely lives can sometimes accomplish major changes. The possession of a pet, who eagerly awaits one and responds to one's care and attention, may mean the difference between maintaining contact with reality or almost total withdrawal into fantasy. Literally, a pet can occasionally represent the difference between life and death.

Other apparent reasons why people need pets are the increasingly urban nature of our society, the separation of children and adults from farm animals and from nature, the separation of families, where older persons and unmarried adults often live alone, and the desire for personal protection.”

Levenson’s theory is correct as to why people have pets and it rings especially true for the animal lovers of America where over half of the households have at least one cat or dog sharing the home and the nationwide annual expenditures on pet products and services are over 40 billion dollars a year. But for the disadvantaged; shelters, low cost apartments, and motel rooms do not normally allow pets. So the disadvantaged must choose between their pet and a roof over their head. Finding any kind of shelter for the homeless with pets is near impossible but finding food may have just gotten easier. A new program to help feed the pets of the homeless and disadvantaged was launched in December, Feeding Pets of the Homeless. The program enrolls veterinarian hospitals and clinics around the country to collect pet food from their clientele in their communities through a publicity campaign. Then the hospital/clinic partners with a local food bank, shelter or soup kitchen. The food bank then distributes the pet food to those in need.

The hospitals/clinics that have enrolled are taking a big step to help those less fortunate and the pets that provide the homeless with an emotional bond of loyalty and comfort while being nonjudgmental and for some provide the homeless with protection and warmth.

More information on the program can be found at

CHART 10 Worst States and Cities with Unsheltered Homeless*

California: 118,275 Los Angeles City & County: 50,414

Florida: 35,340 Punta Gorda/Charlotte County: 4,634

Texas: 20,213 Houston/Harris County: 6,583

Michigan: 15,146 Detroit: 10,516

Colorado: 14,294 Denver: 5,089

Nevada: 9,702 Las Vegas/Clark County: 9,424

Washington: 9,520 Seattle/King County: 2,216

Oregon: 8,446 Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County: 2,355

Georgia: 8,428 Augusta: 732

New York: 6,111 New York City: 4,395

*Research Reports on Homelessness – January 2007, National Alliance to End Homelessness **Rural Homelessness – March 2007, National Alliance to End Homelessness


About Paw Publishing

Paw Publishing

2255 Waterford

Carson City, NV 89703

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Press Release Submitted On: April 27, 2007 at 1:58 pm
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