A national program that helps temporarily homeless families keep all members of their family together – including their four-legged family members – officially kicked off its second year today with the announcement of five new locations. The PetSmart Promise program will build dog and cat kennel facilities at day centers for temporarily homeless families across the United States in five new cities this year: Akron, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Montgomery, Ala.; Morristown, N.J.; and Wasilla, Alaska. “Following the hugely successful first year of the PetSmart Promise program, I’m excited to announce the official launch of the second year and these five new on-site locations,” said David Lenhardt, Chief Executive Officer at PetSmart. “Family homelessness continues to be a large problem in America, and we’re honored to be entering into the second year of our partnership with Family Promise so we can keep even more families and their pets together while they get back on their feet.” PetSmart Promise is a partnership between PetSmart and Family Promise, a non-profit that provides food, shelter and support to temporarily homeless families. The program brings a solution to the heartbreaking decision many homeless families have to make: stay in a shelter and give up their beloved pet (since most shelters do not allow animals) or live on the street in order to keep their family together. The families, who stay in the program an average of nine weeks, will be able to continue to care for their pet and keep their family together during a difficult time. “After taking the program nationwide in 2013, we’re pleased to be working together with PetSmart to expand the number of on-site kennel services we can offer our families in transition,” said Karen Olson, President of Family Promise. “By working together, we can help temporarily homeless families stay together and get back on their feet. We’ve seen time and time again how important it is to these families – especially the children – to be able to stay with their pets during their time of homelessness.”
PetSmart established a pilot program with Family Promise of Greater Phoenix in 2012, and expanded the program nationwide last year, with the goal of five new facilities opening each year until all 182 Family Promise facilities have the opportunity to participate in the program at a level that is appropriate for them. In 2013, on-site facilities opened in Bozeman, Mont. and Fayetteville, N.C. In addition, PetSmart PetsHotels® in Houston, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Boston, Mass.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Colorado Springs, Colo. opened their doors to the program to provide pets who couldn’t be housed in on-site facilities a place to stay.In addition to the on-site facilities, PetSmart Promise offers a menu of options for Family Promise facilities, based on individual needs and limitations. These options include:
- PetsHotels: complimentary use of boarding space in existing PetSmart stores, for families utilizing nearby Family Promise centers. Following the successful launch of six PetsHotels in 2013, up to 20 hotels are anticipated to join the program in 2014.
- Installation of fish tanks in Family Promise centers across the nation, teaching children and families utilizing the center about the care and responsibility required when owning a pet. 50 aquariums were placed in day centers in 2013, with additional ones being added this year; and
- Creation of a foster network of Family Promise employees and volunteers to house pets when a Family Promise pet housing facility or PetSmart PetsHotel is not available.