Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Homeless Youth Alliance raises funds to help pets

Photo: Homeless Youth Alliance

Photo: Homeless Youth Alliance

Homeless Youth Alliance, a San Francisco nonprofit that helps homeless youth get access to health care, housing, and other services, is raising money to help people’s pets.

“For HYA’s staff, helping kids’ pets is the first step in encouraging them to accept help for themselves,” the group said in announcing its campaign, which is being sponsored by the anti-poverty organization Hand Up. “… More often than not, a life-changing course of positive change begins very simply, with a young person asking one of our counselors, ‘Do you guys have food for my dog?'”

HYA is hoping to bring in $30,000 by January 5. As of Wednesday afternoon, almost $19,000 had been raised.

Money raised during the campaign will go to pay for pet food and help provide case management sessions with clients. In those sessions, clients get a hot meal and help with getting housing, medical care, employment, legal IDs, and other assistance.

Each year, the nonprofit sees about 1,000 dogs accompanying its clients, including many who are LGBTQ.

“Most are ‘rescues,’ large breeds that are disproportionately euthanized at shelters but are loyal and constant companions to our participants, who can relate to how it feels to be unwanted and discounted,” HYA said. “These pets are often the only link to love, trust, and family that they experience day-to-day.”

The nonprofit pointed to a client named Susan who finds it “easier to ask for help for her dogs than it is to ask for anything for herself.”

“When you give to our campaign, you’re helping to keep alive a vitally important resource, one that not only keeps pups happy and healthy, but that paves the way for our counselors to build long-term, trusting relationships with youth that ultimately lead to stability, recovery, and permanent transition off the streets,” HYA said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 21, 2016 @ 4:06 pm PST
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