Street Paws is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2016 with the aim of providing free and accessible veterinary care and support services to pets of homeless people in the UK. We strive to bridge the gap between animal and human welfare services, ensuring that pets are not left behind in the fight against homelessness.
Demand for our services is ever growing due to the impacts of cuts to public funding, rising private rents, limited social housing and cuts to housing benefit. Research has shown that many owners have been asked to give up their pet in order to get accommodation. Homeless people will rarely agree to go into a hostel without their pet –choosing instead to remain in extreme vulnerability and deprivation on the streets.
To support the wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness and their pets.
To provide free vet care for people experiencing homelessness.
To protect the human animal bond by keeping pets and their owners together wherever possible.
To equip hostels with the training and resources they need to become pet friendly.
Hostels play a crucial role in assisting homeless people, but less than 10% currently accept pets, forcing many pet owners to make the heart breaking decision of surrendering their companions or continuing to live on the streets.
Pets provide invaluable companionship, comfort, and unconditional love to those struggling with homelessness.
Being forced to give them up can be devastating and hinder escape from homelessness.
The need for pet-friendly hostels and resources to support homeless individuals and their pets is evident. Street Paws recognises the need for more resources to help homeless pet owners care for their animals and promotes responsible pet ownership to change attitudes towards pets in housing. The organisation works with owners to enhance their knowledge of dog behaviour, training, and diet, and assists in creating pet "C.V.s" for landlords.
We know the huge benefits that come with having a pet;
- Reduced stress and anxiety; pets can provide a sense of calm and companionship, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety in people experiencing homelessness.
- Improved mental and physical health; studies have shown that owning a pet can improve mental and physical health. Pet owners are more likely to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and stress levels.
- Increased social interaction; Having to walk the dog gets you out meeting people and widens your world.
- Responsibility; Pet ownership gives individuals a drive to nurture their pet and maintain their home.
"Most of us have probably never experienced homelessness first hand but at some point or another we have all felt lost. In these instances we seek things to keep us going and to find our way.
In Manchester City centre Bumper is what keeps J navigating his life" Mark Trapani
It can be really scary to find yourself in a situation where you may be without a safe place to stay so we’ve put together this quick guide to help you start to get the help you need.
In England, contacting your local council is the best place to start. They have an obligation to help if you’re legally homeless or you’re going to become homeless within the next 8 weeks.
The term legally homeless can include the following situations:
If you’re not sure how to contact your local council, don't worry, you can search for them here: Help from your council if you’re homeless or at risk of homelessness - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Depending on your circumstances there are different types of support your council could offer you. That can start with some advice and lead on to help with emergency housing, support to find longer-term housing or possibly even help so you can stay in your home.
The type of help you can get will depend on your individual circumstances so the council will assess your eligibility for assistance. They will look at things like what led you to become homeless so they are able to decide if you are in priority need That tends to cover situations such as:
If you are a permanent UK resident, you should be eligible for some assistance.
If you’re not a UK resident, we’d recommend contacting Shelter who can give help and advice on the best options for you. You can contact them here: Immigration and residence restrictions - Shelter England
If you have the added pressure of needing to find somewhere safe for you and your dog then we understand this can make things seem even harder so although we’re not able to provide accommodation ourselves we’re here to guide you in the right direction to get help.
The first step would still be to contact your local council so you can register as being homeless so you can get all the support you need.
With our Dog Champions Scheme, we’re working hard to help make sure as many hostels and temporary accommodation providers are dog friendly as possible. To find services in your area who are willing to accept dogs you can use the Homeless Link website. You can find their helpful search tool here: Homeless England | Homeless Link
It’s worth bearing in mind that many temporary accommodation providers need you to be referred to them which is why going through your local council is the best way to get started.
Joined by our Charity Patron Dr Scott Miller on Outreach in Manchester meet some of our dogs and hear about the work we do.
We cannot accept donations of Veterinary medicines.
We are not currently accepting donations of:
Thank you for your support