Cohousing: Recommendations/Toolkit

  1. Create partnerships between homeless housing providers, animal welfare organizations, and veterinary clinics.
    1. Animal welfare organizations, such as shelters and rescues, can provide technical assistance and behavioral health assistance for cohousing homeless shelters, as well as provide assistance in ensuring pets are compliant with local licensing and vaccination laws.
    2. Animal welfare organizations can also serve as a safety net by providing short-term, emergency boarding or foster care for medical or criminal justice emergencies or in cases where cohousing is not suitable.
    3. Veterinary clinics and hospitals can provide necessary vaccinations, microchipping, and minor medical procedures to ensure that pets are healthy.
  2. Design space to provide maximum flexibility that reduces inter- and intra-species conflict, e.g., separating cats and dogs.
  3. Shelters should consider assisting clients with short-term boarding for social service, medical, and other critical appointments. This will increase their chances for achieving self-sufficiency.
  4. Shelters should ensure that expectations for pet accommodations are clear by defining and communicating those expectations:
    1. Minimum animal care and behavior requirements, including clear and specific policies for pet abandonment and surrender; public health and safety, liability, ownership disputes, or legal concerns; and animal medical and behavioral care.
    2. Supporting appropriate behaviors based upon the temperament and history of the individual animal, regardless of breed. Integrating behavioral support for pets will increase opportunities for successful transition to self-sufficiency. Shelter operators can consider partnerships to provide onsite support, including training and behavior modification, and obtaining and proper use of appropriate supplies (leashes, harnesses, crates, etc.). 
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