How Co-Sheltering Improves Shelter Accessibility
A Companion Animal Care Article from

August 2020

Researchers interviewed clients and staff at four organizations that provide housing for humans and their companions, summarizing the approaches, benefits, and concerns of co-sheltering.

homeless man dog
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash...

Many homeless shelters have policies that explicitly forbid clients from bringing their companion animals with them when they enter. This creates a dilemma for individuals who could benefit from the services provided by a shelter, but are hesitant to part ways with their companion animals. Research has shown that the presence of a companion animal can lessen feelings of loneliness, encourage daily routines, and support sobriety.

This study examined four organizations that assist homeless individuals as well as their companion animals. Its goal was to investigate the strategies that are actively in use, and help apply similar measures at other homeless shelters, thus minimizing the number of animals surrendered because their caregivers experienced a period of homelessness.

This study found that co-sheltering companion animals with their human guardians is a feasible strategy that can lower human barriers to entry into shelters.


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