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Arizona Pet Project Launches Onsite Pet Services at UMOM New Day Centers
By Brian O'Malley - Thursday Apr 11, 2024
Pets are proven to improve the social, emotional, and physical health of their human companions, especially in times of crisis and hardship. When an individual or family is facing the loss of housing, fleeing domestic violence, struggling with chronic illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one, their companion animals are often the only solace and connection they have.

With this in mind, Valley nonprofit The Arizona Pet Project is collaborating with UMOM New Day Centers on a first-of-its-kind in the nation program to assist individuals and families keep their pets while in permanent housing at UMOM.

Through this partnership, UMOM is contracting The Arizona Pet Project to place a dedicated social worker on its campus to provide case management for families with pets and to help the shelter in providing case housing assistance when clients are depart their facility for permanent housing, building training tools, improved outdoor dog-friendly spaces, and to provide veterinary care, pet food, and supplies.

UMOM, the largest single women’s and family shelter in Arizona, recognized the importance of including pets in their families’ care, allowing residents to keep their four-legged family members with them since they opened their campus doors.

Since the change in policy, the number of pets on their campus and in their affordable housing complexes has grown. On a given day, there may be as many as 250 dogs and cats living onsite at one of UMOM’s facilities.

“Pets play a crucial role in the family dynamic, and for the families we assist, keeping those pets with their families helps create continuity and companionship for them, especially during times of crisis,” says Monique Lopez, chief operating officer at UMOM. “But with so many pets onsite at our locations, the need for services became apparent and we are so pleased that The Arizona Pet Project came to us with this onsite solution.”

The Arizona Pet Project focuses on supporting low-income families and those in crisis with pets to ensure people aren’t forced to choose between caring for themselves and caring for their companion animals. The organization’s social workers address both human and pet-related needs, keeping families and animals together while removing barriers to care.

Leanna Taylor, CEO of The Arizona Pet Project, said this about the partnership, “We have worked with UMOM, along with hundreds of other nonprofits over the past several years through referrals to our agency. Seeing that relationship grow into the creation of a new model for our community where each organization can leverage its expertise is beyond exciting. We hope this will provide a template that can be used in communities across the country.”

The Arizona Pet Project is currently operating on UMOM’s campus today. To learn more about The Arizona Pet Project and its impact across the Valley,