Orange County Opens Pet Area for the Homeless

SANTA ANA (CNS) - An insurance company's foundation provided $65,000 today for a pet area at the Courtyard homeless shelter in Santa Ana, a first of its kind space in the Southland.

The donation from the Nationwide Foundation to the Midnight Mission, which runs the Courtyard, funded the installation of a designated area in the old bus terminal for pets to exercise, relieve themselves and be bathed. The pet area is scheduled to be completed by December at Courtyard, one of the few shelters in Orange County that allows the homeless to bring their pets along.

Accommodating animal companions will encourage more service-resistant homeless individuals -- some of whom suffer from a mental illness and benefit greatly from having a service animal -- to accept services, as well as provide their animals with a more suitable home, according to Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do.

"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,” Do said.

He praised Doris Starling, who is in charge of running the Courtyard, for getting the pet section project underway.

"This is due to the hard work of Doris, who has been an advocate for it,” Do said.

The Courtyard provides shelter to about 400 transients daily, and is home to about 45 pets, he said.

Photo: Getty Images

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