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HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS


Meet Sara.


Sara is 26 years old and originally from California. After graduating high school and becoming a military wife, Sarah moved to Virginia and was on track to the life of her dreams until relationship problems led to a divorce followed by a period of time in which she stopped caring about responsibilities and left everything behind to head out across the country in her truck. Sara was passing through Salem when her truck broke down. Unable to afford truck repairs or a place to stay, she turned to C@P for help and was provided a micro-shelter in the Village of Hope community, where her generally positive attitude improves the days of those in the community. Since being with us, Sara has publicly shared her story at a Humanity of Homelessness story-telling event, got a job and participated in community building processes.


 



This topic actually has its own Wikipedia page, which has a lot of helpful information.


Pet ownership is fairly common among people who are unhoused. As anyone who has ever owned a pet knows, it can be costly to care for a pet, financially and otherwise. People with pets can have a harder time finding housing. And, for people who are unhoused, there is the issue of what to do with a pet if you have a job, or if you need to go to an appointment.


There are many benefits to owning a good pet. Pet ownership can provide people with a sense of community and connection, which is especially important for people in marginalized communities. Pets can provide people with a sense of purpose. And a pet can provide protection and a sense of safety for people, which is also very important for someone who is unhoused.


Vicky Lawson, University of Washington professor, says, “the humans care for dogs, but the dogs also care for the humans. There is a mutualistic relationship, in which the humanity of homeless people is expressed, rather than them being viewed as disposable.”


At C@P, one of the ways that we strive to be low-barrier is by allowing people to bring their pets with them when they enter our micro-shelters. There can be plenty of issues with allowing pets. But, we strive to create a space where people do not have to choose between keeping a pet and having a safe place to stay.


 

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