Tag Archives: housing

Pets Belong with Families Act

Across the USA, demand for public housing is increasing because of the rapid rise in the cost of living. Unfortunately, housing authorities can impose restrictions on families that require housing with their pets. Breed specific restrictions and higher rentals for pet-owning families are too common.

Everyone deserves to have access to the benefits of pet ownership. The ASPCA has continued to work to advance policy solutions that would increase pet-friendly housing and help keep pets and people together. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) already manages pet-friendly housing within its portfolio of programs, including its public housing program. While regulations require public housing authorities to allow pets, public housing authorities can impose restrictions based on a dog’s breed and size and charge residents more money if they have a pet.

The Pets Belong with Families Act was introduced to Congress last year and, if law, will remove broad and unfounded restrictions on pets in public housing to help ensure that housing is available to eligible families, regardless of their pet’s breed or size. 

Voters in the USA should urge their members of Congress to support H.R. 5828, the Pets Belong with Families Act. Encourage your vet to advocate through their professional networks to help pass the Bill, too.

Sources: ASPCA, Best Friends

Housing affordability is a dog issue

I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time.  There’s been trouble brewing for a while now when it comes to housing availability and affordability in New Zealand.  But if you’re a dog owner, the problem is usually magnified.

Take this case from the Waikato; a gainfully employed immigrant to New Zealand struggles to find a rental home that will allow both his children and his beloved dog, Blue, to live there.

Welcome dog

In the months and years following the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, the rate of surrenders of dogs increased as people were displaced from their damaged homes.  Most rentals prohibited dogs. (Only now – in 2017 – is the housing market adjusting again with something of a rental surplus.  Creative rental owners are starting to open their minds about dogs.)

Last week, I shared this article on my Facebook page about Millennials, a generation of men and women who are buying homes to secure their futures as dog owners.  It created the highest readership of the page in almost two years, with many of my clients and other readers agreeing that they bought a home because they wanted a secure place to live with their dog(s).

I moved from Auckland to Christchurch in large part because of better housing affordability and the goal of having my own dog.  (In Auckland, the best I could achieve was a regular dose of ‘dog therapy’ by volunteering at the SPCA as part of a regular roster.)

But housing affordability is a barrier to many owning their first home.  Loan-to-value ratios require a minimum of 20% deposit.  If you are already paying a high rent, savings to reach that 20% can be very difficult.  In the Auckland region, I’ve read that many employed people are paying up to one-half of their income in rent.  So much for saving a 20% deposit!

If people can’t find homes that allow pets, what happens to all the dogs needing loving homes?  They face a bleak future.

So in this – an election year in New Zealand – think about housing affordability as a key issue particularly if you are a dog lover or prospective dog owner. If you’ve made it into your own home with a dog, think of those who are still trying.

And if you are an owner of one or more rental properties, you can be part of the solution.  Do you allow your tenants to have dogs?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand