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F16/449

Stop housing discrimination against homeless people with pets

Request Description

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.

Sometimes a pet is all that a homeless person has as any form of family and whilst I do not think that a street life is a suitable life for dogs and they do not get to choose I do think that hostels should be more sensitive to the fact that a lot of homeless people do have dogs for companionship and the majority of those are well behaved as such they also deserve to be able to spend time in a hostel with their human companions.

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?

Request Date30 June 2016
Requested byIndividual
Released Date  

30 June 2016        

Response

Please tell me, what is our council's position on this issue:

Does our council provide emergency housing for people with dogs?

No.  The council emergency accommodation is for those homeless persons in priority need and to whom we have a housing duty.  This is effectively people with children or people with significant health issues, who are in emergency accommodation for an average of 14 weeks .  Our emergency accommodation isn't suitable for bringing animals (not just dogs) into that environment.  Where we have persons with animals who have difficulty in finding alternative arrangements for their pets, for example leaving them with family for a short time, we direct them to the RSPCA to try to ensure that the animals are cared for while they are in our emergency accommodation.

Do we provide council housing for people with dogs?

The council does not retain any housing stock, housing stock in East Herts is held by Housing Associations.  There is no single policy regarding pets, individual associations apply restrictions to individual properties.

If so, what percentage of our emergency and council housing allows dogs? N/A

And what quantity of our emergency accommodation and council houses allow dogs? N/A

Refused

                                                                

Refusal