Press release: Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of domestic violence residential services in the U.S. and an innovative leader in the issue of pets and domestic violence, has announced a $260,000 grant awarded by PetSmart Charities. This is the third URI grant from PetSmart Charities, which is dedicated to supporting pets and those who love them. This latest grant brings the total funding awarded to URI to $510,000.
The generous grant will fund research into the role of pets in domestic violence situations, both as a barrier to seeking safety and as a critical human-animal bond that supports healing from trauma. According to recent research by URI and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline), reported in the PALS Report & Survey: Domestic Violence and Pets: Breaking Barriers to Safety and Healing, half of domestic violence survivors will not consider shelter for themselves without their pet, and the lack of accommodations for pets in domestic violence shelters can prevent them from seeking safety. Once in a safe environment, the presence of a pet is well documented as an aid to healing from trauma, which was reinforced in the data from the new survey, in which 91 percent reported presence of pets as a significant factor in their healing. Currently less than 10 percent of domestic violence shelters assist in securing safety for pets, and only a portion of those can accommodate “co-living” of people and pets together in the same apartment. For nearly eight years URI has addressed this issue by providing shelter and services for domestic violence survivors and their pets.
“URI’s pioneering pet-friendly domestic violence shelter program, People and Animals Living Safely (PALS), was launched in 2013 when research unveiled a clear gap in services for domestic violence victims with pets,” said Nathaniel M. Fields, chief executive officer of URI. “Our data-driven approach demands we constantly seek knowledge of our model efficacy and client base to continue to innovate, be responsive and provide the highest quality care. We are grateful to PetSmart Charities for their continued support and collaboration in better understanding the intersection of pets and domestic abuse, and thus better serving all survivors and the pets they love.”
“While we are well aware of the comfort and support pets provide, especially during times of crisis, we recognize that additional data will allow organizations nationwide to better service survivors and pets,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “We are proud to once again partner with URI in providing resources to survivors and their pets, in the hope that no pet parent will ever have to sacrifice their safety or be separated from a beloved pet when they are needed most.”
This contribution comes on the heels of Gilbreath’s participation in a virtual panel event convened by URI and co-presented with The Hotline on the intersection of domestic violence and pets. The event included expert panelists from both domestic violence and animal welfare sectors, and included presentation of the data from the new PALS Survey that reinforced the need for pet-friendly services and more research to inform and guide work on this issue. PetSmart Charities also provided funding to support the production of the virtual event and the PALS Report & Survey.
The PetSmart Charities funding will be used over a two-year period to conduct a research survey that evaluates the situation of survivors and pets and the efficacy of the co-living model in domestic violence shelter settings. The survey will assess the impact of entering shelter with and without a pet in terms of the domestic violence victims’ coping strategies, healing, and resilience, and the results will inform the URI PALS program and programs nation-wide on needs and best practices for sheltering survivors of domestic violence along with their pets.
PetSmart Charities’ Preserving Families Grant, a program that funds initiatives that help people facing acute crises keep and stay with their pets during the transition, has supported URI for several years. Previous funding underwrote outdoor pet parks at domestic violence shelters and provided funding for trained staff and program supplies to support expansion of the PALS program. To date, PetSmart Charities’ total contribution to URI is in excess of $500,000.
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization based in New York City that empowers individuals, families, communities, particularly communities of color and other vulnerable populations, to end cycles of domestic violence, homelessness, poverty and trauma by increasing safety and resiliency. URI’s innovative programs serve individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and homeless families, allowing them to live in safety and recover from trauma in both residential and non-residential settings. Founded in 1980, URI is the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the U.S., and is focused on a holistic approach, encompassing prevention and intervention as well as direct services. With deep community relationships and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations while influencing service delivery across the U.S. and the world.
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 600,000 shelter pets each year. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $450 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 17 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization.