- Francisco Quintana
- Communications Director
- (916) 319-2052
LOS ANGELES, CA - Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), in partnership with People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), announced AB 1215, new legislation which would re-establish the Pet Assistance and Support Program to award grants to homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters, for food and basic veterinarian services for pets owned by people experiencing homelessness or escaping domestic violence.
In line with Governor Newsom’s $1 Billion allocated to address behavioral and health needs within homeless housing programs, Governor Newsom highlighted the importance of pushing for innovative solutions to the homelessness crisis “Along with treatment and supportive services, access to a safe and reliable place to live is a basic necessity. My Administration continues to work tirelessly to ensure that more Californians have the support they need to get out of and stay out of homelessness.”
“As California looks for solutions for unhoused people across the state, we should not force individuals experiencing homelessness to choose between keeping their animal companion and obtaining urgent access to shelter.” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. “AB 1215 is a local solution that works to assist our unhoused population in feeling comfortable when seeking temporary housing - a solution that directly addresses a hurdle to thousands when seeking temporary housing”
The results of the 2022 homeless population count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimated that 69,144 people were experiencing homelessness in LA County at that time, a 4.1% rise from 2020, and 41,980 people were experiencing homelessness in the City of LA itself, up 1.7% from 2020. Among that population, it is estimated that 5-10% percent own a dog or a cat. With a majority of motels, homeless shelters, and assisted housing programs not permitting animals on their property, abandoning an animal companion becomes a cost of finding living accommodations. Shelters lacking the necessary resources to account for pets thus present a direct hurdle to an unhoused person looking to find a temporary housing situation.
“Pets offer companionship, comfort and support. They are vital parts of people’s lives and can help individuals cope with the trauma of homelessness,” said Jennifer Hark Dietz, PATH CEO. “That is why PATH is co-sponsoring AB 1215, so that people experiencing homelessness can connect to shelter accommodations that allow them to bring their pets with them and access veterinary services onsite. Proper accommodations for pets can come at a cost and shelter operating costs are stretched thin enough as it is. That is why regular funding to allow for pet support at interim housing sites is so vital and why we applaud Assemblywoman Carrillo for being a champion for the unhoused and their animal companions.”
“I was out there on the streets for a while,” said Greg, a resident of a PATH interim housing shelter that utilized previous State funding to accommodate pets. “My dog Penelope calms me down a lot when I get anxious. She’s always been a constant companion to me, and I love her so much. It’s been really nice to have a place to have my dog.” Greg and Penelope are now gratefully home in permanent supportive housing, back in his hometown of Venice.
Last year, SB 513 from then-Senator Bob Hertzberg, would have codified the grant program that AB 1215 is advancing. Despite widespread support across the Legislature, the program was not funded in the budget and did not pass its final committee.
“The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has seen the strong emotional bond that can develop between our unhoused neighbors and their pets” said Stephen David Simon, Interim Executive Director of LAHSA. “Those bonds can often leave people experiencing homelessness with the difficult task of choosing between coming inside and a loved one. LAHSA is proud to be a co-sponsor of AB 1215 because it will eliminate that choice and help us place more people and their pets on a path to permanent housing. LAHSA is also deeply thankful for Assemblymember Carrillo’s compassion and dedication to ending homelessness in our community.”
Assemblywoman Carrillo was elected to serve in the State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles and South Glendale. She serves as the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration, in addition to the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Health, Housing and Community Development, Utilities and Energy, Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation, and the Joint Committees on Legislative Budget, and Climate Change Policies. She also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, as a Commissioner for the California Film Commission and serves on the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board.