July 2008

Gift Aids Innovative Program to Help Pets of People in Crisis

New York, NY – July 2008 – The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, a non-profit coalition of over 100 no-kill shelters and rescue groups in the New York area, has received a grant of $65,000 from Amie's Place Foundation to aid pets and their owners who experience a personal life crisis such as domestic violence or homelessness.

The Amie's Place Foundation grant will help support a new initiative designed to shelter pets temporarily while individuals receive the help they need to stabilize their lives and work to secure permanent, pet-friendly housing. The new program will seek foster homes and boarding facilities for displaced pets and will help their owners maintain contact with their pets at a time when the possible loss of a pet would be especially devastating.

Because New York City domestic violence and homeless shelters do not admit animals, many people who require such services choose to remain in unsafe situations rather than abandon their pet. The Mayor's Alliance, with its relationship to veterinarians, boarding facilities, and foster families, is widely viewed as a resource for assistance in such cases. The grant from Amie's Place Foundation will assist the Mayor's Alliance in working to ensure that these pets are cared for properly until reunification occurs. The grant provides funding for both direct pet care costs and a part-time case manager. The Mayor's Alliance has hired Jenny Coffey, LSMW, a social worker with an animal welfare background, to fill the position and coordinate this effort.

Recognizing the many benefits of keeping people and their pets together during times of crises, the Mayor's Alliance is also taking steps to encourage "co-sheltering" pilot programs — programs in homeless and domestic violence shelters which would house people and their pets together.

"We are pleased to support the Mayor's Alliance as they work to help people facing life crises keep their families — people and pets — together under difficult circumstances," said Dr. Lee Gelfand DMV, Board member of Amie's Place Foundation. "We look forward to being a part of the continued success of this innovative program to preserve families during difficult times and to promote awareness about the essential role of pets within a family."

Coordination with social service agencies is critical to the ability of the Mayor's Alliance to provide assistance in these cases. To receive help through this initiative, referrals should come directly from the collaborating social worker, case manager, or counselor working with the individual or family. If needs for services exceed the capacity of this new program, Amie's Place Foundation and the Mayor's Alliance will seek additional support for program expansion.

"There are no other programs like this in New York City. Thanks to Amie's Place Foundation, whose founders, for the past 20 years, have designed, developed and funded innovative programs that maintain the critical relationships of people in crisis and their pets, we are able to implement this much-needed initiative," said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.


The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by Maddie's Fund, is a coalition of more than 100 animal rescue groups and shelters that are working with the City of New York toward the day when no NYC dog or cat of reasonable heath and temperament is killed merely because he or she does not have a home.

Amie's Place Foundation was established to fund organizations that provide programs for people who are at risk of losing their pets at times of crisis and help overcome barriers limiting access to their pets when they most need each other. In light of the profound healing effect that pets have on individuals who are going through a difficult, sometimes life-changing event, the Foundation works to provide necessary pet-care assistance and to promote public awareness of the unique bond a beloved pet and its human companion share. Grants have funded the first senior center and hospital-based program in New York City and are models for replication by other institutions. Amie's Place Foundation encourages nationwide replication of programs to help prevent the unnecessary forced separation of people and pets who need each other.


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