Santa Ana, California – The Nationwide Foundation presented a $65,000 check to The Midnight Mission to install a pet area at Orange County’s Courtyard homeless shelter, one of the few shelters in Orange County that accepts pets.
The check was presented by Debbie Meyers, Assistant Vice President of Operations for Nationwide Pet, at the Courtyard homeless shelter to Doris Starling, Executive of the Courtyard OC, and Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. The money will be used to create a designated pet section at the Courtyard, encouraging more individuals to access county services.
“The Nationwide Foundation is on our side as we continue to make progress on homelessness,” said Supervisor Andrew Do. “We need everyone from the public, private and nonprofit sectors working together to get people off the streets and on to a productive path.”
Pet Area Will Encourage People to Accept Services
Most shelters in Orange County do not allow homeless individuals to bring their pets along with them when they accept services. Accommodating animal companions in low barrier shelters will encourage more service-resistant homeless individuals to accept services as well as provide these animals with a more suitable home.
“By creating a space that makes sense for people and their pets, we’re increasing the likelihood that they will choose to accept help rather than continue to live on their street,” said Supervisor Do.
Once individuals have shelter and have accepted services, such as job training programs or mental health treatment, they start their journey to recovery and self-sufficiency.
Benefits to Health and Hygiene
A new pet area will benefit all the Courtyard residents. A designated area for pets to exercise, be fed and bathed, and relieve themselves will positively impact the health of the animals and the cleanliness of the facility.
Individuals suffering from a mental illness and need a service animal will be able to more effectively care for the pet, therefore making treatment that includes a service animal more manageable. With access to facilities they need to take care of their animals, we can increase the likelihood of positive patient outcomes.
Homelessness Requires Public, Private and Nonprofit Involvement
Homelessness is a regional problem with implications for all parts of our society. It impacts businesses, neighborhoods, emergency services and a number of other public and private areas of our lives. Due to the pervasive impacts of this crisis, stakeholders from public, private and nonprofit organizations must work together to create solutions.
“When we are able to leverage our collective resources more effectively, we can create solutions that make a real impact,” said Supervisor Do. “Working together means better outcomes for everyone. I want to thank the Nationwide Foundation for taking the initiative to be part of the solution.”
The pet area is slated to be complete by December. Every day, the Courtyard provides shelter to approximately 400 people and offers more than 1,000 hot meals. Since opening in October 2016, 410 individuals have been linked to stable housing.