Scheme launched to help the homeless – and their pets

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StreetVet, a charity working to provide vet care to the pets of homeless people across the UK, has announced the launch of a national ‘pet friendly’ hostel accreditation scheme today.

The StreetVet Accredited Hostel Scheme – which will roll out nationwide – will enable hostels to accept multiple residents with their pets by offering “free, accessible veterinary care, as well as support for hostel managers and staff to adopt and implement positive pet policies”.

In the UK, one in ten people experiencing homelessness has a pet (around 32,000 people), but the vast majority of hostels do not allow pets on their premises. This means many are left facing the stark choice between giving up their beloved pet or staying in the streets. 

StreetVet co-founder and vet Jade Statt says, “Under current regulations, if people turn down housing due to ‘no pets’ clauses, they are told they are making themselves ‘intentionally homeless’ and are refused further housing assistance. Any pet lover will understand that choosing between a roof over your head and the company of your beloved pet is no choice at all.

“Currently, one of the many complex reasons that people remain homeless is because there are not enough hostels that can safely accommodate them and their pet. Our hope is that in setting up the StreetVet Accredited Hostel Scheme, fewer people will have to make this impossible choice. Access to pet-friendly hostels is their first step towards independent housing.

With homelessness on the rise due to the economic impact of COVID-19, it was important to us to launch this scheme before Christmas, as winter sets in.”

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Co-founder Sam Joseph adds, “Once people have been temporarily housed with pets, they still face hurdles to access permanent accommodation, due to many landlords banning pets. For this reason, StreetVet is also supporting Jasmine’s Law and has shared our policies and procedures in the hope they can also be applied to permanent rented accommodation. Our charity’s purpose is to protect the human-animal bond and keep our clients and their pets together.”

The Elms, in Hemel Hempstead, is the first StreetVet pet-friendly accredited hostel. Its manager Sean Fitzgerald says, “We wanted to be part of this scheme because we see the benefits pets bring their owners every day with our residents.

“The accreditation process is thorough but it’s also simple, with all the support you need provided by StreetVet. The scheme helped us improve our pet policies and we know StreetVet will be there whenever we need them in an emergency. We would encourage as many hostels as possible to get involved.”

More information about StreetVet and the hostel scheme can be found here.

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