BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Mercy House Brundage Lane Navigation Center it will expand in the coming week, adding more beds for the homeless and more kennels for their pets. Many homeless shelters do not allow pets, but BLNC is an exception.
“Originally we had a capacity of 15 animals, but what we have seen in a lot of research is that there is a significant need for more capacity for pets in homeless shelters, so we increased our capacity from 15 kennels to 50,” said the Regional Director of Mercy House Theo Quotas.
Dues says that the homeless depend on their pets more than anyone, because pets provide emotional support. BLNC wants to make sure they don’t deprive their customers of that.
Stacy Kuwahara, director of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Servicesdo you agree.
“Having more resources, number one, is wonderful, and having a resource that also allows you to bring your pet is something that we really need right now as we’re working to build housing and resources for those who are on the streets.” Kuwahara said.
Kuwahara tells people who are homeless and may not have access to a social support structure, pets provide day-to-day emotional interaction, as well as being motivation to keep going and stay connected to a community.
The Bakersfield City Council approved the expansion of the Brundage Lane Boating Center, which is set to open sometime this week. Not only will the number of kennels increase, allowing for people with multiple pets, but Dues says the number of beds will also increase, along with medical shelter beds.
“The original number was 76 men. We got to 109. The original number was 54 women. We got to 76. We also host couples here,” Dues said. “There are many couples who live on the street and do not leave their partner to enter a shelter.”
Dues adds that BLNC’s goal is to provide homeless people and their pets with permanent housing. In the time the navigation center has been open, it has helped more than 200 people find permanent housing.
“This is an emergency shelter, but our goal is to get people out of the shelter and into permanent housing as quickly as possible because we believe that ultimately there is only one solution to homelessness, and that is housing. Dues said.
If you or someone you know needs the services of the Mercy House Brundage Lane Navigation Center, please call the United Way of Kern County at 2-1-1. There, you can learn more about the navigation center, as well as the process involved in moving your pets into crates.
IN DEPTH: PETS, HOMELESS AND MENTAL HEALTH
Over the years, studies have shown that to address the homelessness crisis, community leaders must be willing to help both those living on the streets and the pets they keep with them.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an estimated 12 percent of homeless adults have pets nationwide. Until recently, 48 percent of homeless pet owners reported being turned away from a shelter because of pet policies.
He National Alliance to End Homelessness also reports that 22 percent of the homeless pet owners they surveyed said they avoided seeking shelter because they worried their pets would not be able to be with them.
Recent studies also show that, despite what many may think, the pets of the homeless live happy lives, and that most homeless pet owners invest more than the resources they have in caring for their pets. than in caring for themselves.