Charities working to support homeless people and their pets have warned they are braced for a rise in demand this autumn amid a potential homelessness crisis and a surging number of pet owners during the pandemic.
“We’ve definitely started to see an increase in demand already over the last few months,” said Zoe Abbotts, the general manager at charity StreetVet, “but I have no doubt that we will see a further increase in demand and we are preparing for it.”
The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign is working to prevent a rise in homelessness this autumn when pandemic support measures come to an end, including the furlough scheme and the £20 universal credit increase, leaving thousands of people at risk of eviction from their homes.
That could see a rise in the number of people on the street with their pets after animal ownership rose sharply during the pandemic. As many as 3.2 million households got a pet in the first year of the pandemic, according to figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, meaning the UK now has 17 million pet-owning homes.
We’re very much getting approached now by families that are having to be evicted due to this Covid pandemicDogs on the StreetsDogs on the Streets
An increase in homelessness could see thousands of people and their pets needing help and charities who work with animals and their homeless owners told The Big Issue they are preparing to meet demand on International Dog Day.
“We’re running as normally as normal again,” Abbotts said, but with “a huge increase in demand for care and support”.