A California bill hopes to create provisions to help those experiencing homelessness with pets.
California Senate Bill 513 was first introduced in early 2021. In early 2022, the bill was read for a third time and passed through to the Assembly.
The topic of the bill, homeless shelters grants: pets & veterinary services, was presented by Senator Bob Hertzberg.
According to a summary of the bill, existing law in California requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services to ensure affordable housing to people experiencing homeless or at the risk of homelessness.
Under SB 513, the Department of Housing and Community Development would be required to develop and administer a program to award grants to qualified homeless shelters. These grants would act as a provision of shelter, food, and basic veterinary services for pets owned by people experiencing homelessness.
A “qualified homeless shelter” means it has rules of conduct and responsibility regarding pets and their owners, provides crates/kenneling either near bunks or in a separate area, provides food for both people experiencing homelessness and their pets, and offers the services of a veterinarian.
“The bill would authorize the department to use up to 5% of the funds appropriated in the annual Budget Act for those purposes for its costs in administering the program,” writes Senator Hertzberg in the amended proposal.
The bill, which cites Pets of the Homeless, establishes of the 3,500,000 Americans who are homeless, five to 10 percent have dogs or cats.
Many shelters and other assisted housing programs do not permit animals on their property, which often pushes potential patrons to live in cars, recreational vehicles, or tent camps.
Under the bill, the department may use up to 5 percent of the funds appropriated in the annual budget to cover the costs of such a program.
An existing program called Pet Assistance and Support (PAS) allows homeless shelters to reduce barriers of those experiencing homelessness with their pets.
PAS provides funding in the form of grants to qualified homeless shelters.
SB 513 hopes to expand upon what PAS already supports to make it a statewide initiative.