Recap: Homelessness and Animal Companionship in Toledo and Nationally

Photo Credit: Jetta Fraser for The Toledo Blade

Photo Credit: Jetta Fraser for The Toledo Blade

Diann Wears, the face of homelessness and animal companionship in Toledo, attended My Dog is My Home's social work continuing education event "Homelessness and Animal Companionship in Toledo and Nationally" to show her support of our efforts. It has been a little over one year since Diann and her dog Cow were taken off the streets and housed together, with much support and involvement from the local community. Diann noted that her case was particularly visible because she didn't hide, and she slept right downtown near the Greyhound Bus station. Others may not be as visible.

As showcased by the data collected by My Dog is My Home and the University of Toledo during the February 2017 service fair for companion animals of the homeless, people and families who are experiencing homelessness with animals may be doubled up or couch surfing rather than street homeless. They may also be an invisible population to local social service providers because of a "foreclosure mindset" - homeless human-animal families rightly assume that they will be denied access to services because of their animal, so they avoid engaging homeless services altogether.

Other data collected from the service fair was also reviewed at the continuing education event, in addition to different trends and service models from around the country.