Many homeless people keep dogs for security as well as comfort. Currently only 9% of hostels for homeless people in the UK are dog-friendly, meaning that many dog owners are denied access to shelter and support, simply because they have a dog. Likewise, rules on dog ownership for council housing or housing association tenants vary from place to place, with many councils forcing people to give up their pets to rescue centres or remain homeless.
It is NOT okay to tell people they cannot have emergency housing because they have pets. It is NOT okay to leave them in cold with these pets. It’s callous. It’s discriminatory. This would NEVER happen to someone with kids. To thousands of people, their pets ARE their kids. People like Hillary Barrows in Canterbury have had to live in their cars in minus degree weather because they could not have emergency help because of their dogs. You must understand the importance of pets to the homeless, the bond, the love that is exchanged. Do not take that away from them and make them suffer.
Please tell me, what is our council’s position on this issue? Does our council provide emergency housing for people with dogs? Do we provide council housing for people with dogs? If so, what percentage of our emergency and council housing allows dogs? And what quantity of our emergency accommodation and council houses allow dogs? (12/09/2019)
Rother District Council will always provide kennelling for dogs when people are forced to use temporary accommodation. It is perhaps illustrative of the extent of the present crisis in housing that there is a significant scarcity of suitable temporary accommodation available to us. I am not aware of any temporary accommodation provider who allows pets; I imagine because of the additional impact this will have on their cleaning regimes and pest control measures. We recognise the challenge this causes when attempting to accommodate people with their pets and the significance of the bond that exists as described in the correspondence received. We are presently embarking on measures to purchase and operate our own temporary accommodation over which we will have more control. We will consider the placement of pets on a case-by-case basis, particularly where kennelling is not possible for any reason. We do not manage our own housing stock and do not operate any policy regarding the placement of pets therefore. (12/09/2019)