This week we are celebrating the official opening of Citadel House – a dog-friendly temporary accommodation space for people experiencing homelessness in Stroud. The temporary accommodation, provided by Stroud District Council and Gloucester City Homes (GCH) will offer temporary accommodation for up to 8 people and their dogs while they find more permanent homes.
Citadel House has been endorsed by our Welcoming Dogs scheme in the Hope Project – scheme that supports homelessness services to become dog-friendly so people and their pets can stay together. We supported the service with putting together and implementing a bespoke pet policy and pet owner agreement, provided guidance around referrals and risk assessments and sent them a starter pack of doggie items to help the service welcome their first canine residents.
Abigail Owens, Pets and Housing Regional Engagement Coordinator at Dogs Trust says:
“For most dog owners, being separated from their dog is no different from being separated from a family member. Many dog owners experiencing homelessness are forced to make the heart-breaking decision to give up their beloved pets just so they can have somewhere safe and secure to sleep.
“We don’t think anyone should have to choose between a bed or their faithful friend, and we work with many housing providers, including Gloucester City Homes, to successfully offer dog-friendly accommodation.
“It’s incredibly important that pet-friendly housing is available at every step of someone’s housing pathway, and we’re keen to work with as many homelessness services as possible so that we can help keep people and their pets together.”
Michael Hill, GCH’s Director of Assets said
“Within the Stroud area, there are significant numbers of people awaiting one-bedroom accommodation. GCH is committed to providing high quality housing for people who find themselves without a permanent home.
Our experienced homeless team will work in partnership with Stroud District Council and other local support networks including the Salvation Army next door. This specialist support will provide not only a temporary safe haven for those people at risk of rough sleeping, but a route into permanent housing.”
Stroud District Council Housing Committee Chair Mattie Ross added:
“We made funding available for this project because a key activity of our Council Plan is to prioritise the prevention of homelessness, including working with partners to develop specialist housing and support.
Being able to keep a much-loved dog plays a big part in helping people cope and deal with their difficulties, with the right support. I am really pleased to see partners working together on this project which compliments the extensive work we do to tackle homelessness in the district.”
We in the Hope Project know how challenging it is for dog owners experiencing homelessness to access temporary council accommodation. People in these situations are often left with a choice between giving up their dog and having a safe place to sleep. And this is simply not an option for people whose dogs are often their only companion and are crucially important for their mental, physical health and trauma recovery. We’re so delighted to have worked with our partners at Stroud District Council and Gloucester City Homes to make Citadel House a safe and inclusive space for dog owners experiencing homelessness, and an overall success.
We hope to be able to build on this success with homelessness services across the UK to make sure people and their pets can stay together in all corners of the country. If you would like to find out more about our Welcoming Dogs endorsement scheme and how we can support your homelessness service to become dog-friendly, click here.