Humane Society for Greater Nashua highlights pet care in push for renter protections, rental assistance, and affordable housing in Nashua 

Nashua, New Hampsire (9/1/2020) The COVID-19 pandemic is putting millions of pets in Nashua, NH and across the country at risk of being surrendered to animal shelters by the families who love them, but may be forced to choose between finding a place to live and keeping their pets.

The ability of people in Nashua, NH and other communities across the country to cover the costs of pet care and related expenses has been drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the pandemic has exacerbated affordable housing shortages that already existed for renters across the country, including in Nashua NH, low-income households have often had to choose between paying rent and buying groceries, medicine and other necessities—including pet-related expenses.

As such, The Humane Society for Greater Nashua supports increased rental assistance and a moratorium on evictions for low-income renters in Nashua, NH experiencing increased housing insecurity because of  the pandemic, and urges landlords to remove restrictions of pets in rental units. They also ask community members who are in a position to help, consider long term fostering to help families in crisis find a temporary caregiver for their pets rather than being forced to surrender them.

The poverty and structural inequality that puts low-income community-members at a greater risk of being affected by COVID-19 also create barriers to finding safe, affordable, and pet-friendly housing. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in New Hampshire in 2018 there were only 15,542 units of affordable housing available for every 39,525 extremely low-income households in our state. Meanwhile only 9% of rental housing across the country allowed companion animals without any significant limitations on size or type. Most tenants (82%) with animals reported having trouble finding a rental unit that would accept their pets.

Each year millions of pets enter animal shelters, and one of the most frequently cited reason for relinquishment is a housing, moving or landlord issue. To keep pets in their homes, animal welfare organizations assert on one crucial point: When families are ripped apart, both humans and pets experience detrimental effects on their physical and emotional well being.

“One of the top reasons for pet surrender is eviction. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increase of evictions, and displaced pets. We need to call attention to this issue and work collectively to find an effective solution. We believe that people in stable housing is a parallel to pets in stable housing. Thus, we believe that raising awareness to this issue aligns with our purpose.” -Katie Boyden, Director of Community Engagement at the Humane Society for Greater Nashua

Landlords can minimize such risk by removing barriers such as breed and size restrictions in the case of renters with pets and by reducing fees in order to give renters with pets more opportunities to find safe housing. Now, more than ever, renters would benefit from increased support and fewer limitations.

Animal advocates and other members of the public can help by engaging groups like the Humane Society for Greater Nashua to advocate for rental assistance and an eviction moratorium in Nashua, NH to ensure that low-income renters—and their pets—have safe and affordable housing in rental homes with pet-friendly policies.