The power of dog ownership for people experiencing homelessness

Hero image
By Stacey Kelly
The Centre for Homelessness Impact and Dogs Trust have partnered to create a collection of non-stigmatising images of dog owners experiencing homelessness to challenge negative stereotypes.
Dog ownership amongst people experiencing homelessness has an array of health and social benefits, including reducing loneliness, isolation and depression. But pet ownership is also believed to perpetuate homelessness by restricting access to support services.
In a recent study by Dogs Trust, 70 per cent of homelessness services said that their clients had experienced barriers for accessing homelessness services because they have a dog.
The Big Issue highlighted this problem in a recent canine-centric issue, with features covering housing discrimination against disabled people with assistance dogs and the story of John Chadwick, who died by suicide after being forced to choose between his pets and a home.
Dogs Trust provides support to dog owners experiencing homelessness through its Hope Project.
As well as helping accommodation providers to become more dog-friendly, the Hope Project provides free veterinary treatment to dogs whose owners are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and an online directory of dog-friendly homelessness services in the UK.
It also provides a Christmas parcel service, sending out canine goodies to homelessness services across the country that support dog owners.
Keiran, who was photographed with Storm, spoke about the importance of having a pet: “There have been some tough times and she kept me going. She doesn’t really notice what she means to me, she doesn’t realise what she does. Just her company, going for walks. Having someone to talk to.
“When I am having a dull time or feeling lonely, Storm can sense it. She jumps straight up and gives me a cuddle. She can sense if I am feeling a bit down or not quite with it and she keeps me happy, and she gives me a routine.”

Interact: Responses to The power of dog ownership for people experiencing homelessness

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.