Community Development Around Caring for Animals
- We started in DHA – Columbine children, a South Lincoln maintenance man, a Westwood Proper Manager, and a South Lincoln resident – all of us figuring out how to help animals. Since then, a large community of public housing people has grown to help animals. This program formalizes our approach over the last two decades in creating a community around caring for animals. Community development also serves as the foundation across all other programs. In fact, none of the programs could operate without the community – public housing residents and employees alike. One important lesson that we learned over the years is that residents matter more than anyone else in achieving long-term neighborhood change.
Neighborhood-run Animal Health Care
- Free basic health care. Residents encourage their neighbors to spay/neuter their pets then help them get started. No family ever sees a vet bill or is ever subjected to a belittling qualification process for the veterinary services they need to living in public housing with their pet.
- When families can no longer keep their pets. Whenever public housing families can no longer keep their pet and when employees discover abandoned animals, our shelter partner steps in to help.
- A home for stray animals. When the occasional stray animal wonders through the neighborhood, our shelter partner steps in to find a new family.
- Community “mouser” cats. We work through our partner organizations to trap, spay/neuter, and either find a home for the tame cats or return the truly feral cat where public residents lovingly care of them. By working together we have reduced cat populations in and surrounding public housing by well over 90%.
- Senior Program for Neighborhood Helpers. Our newest program supports those residents who have done the most to change their neighborhoods.
Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Youth Service Projects
- We believe like Jane that people, animals and the environment are all connected. Roots & Shoots empowers and encourages youth pursue their passion, mobilize their friends, and become the leaders our world needs in order to ensure a better future for people, animals, and the environment.
Education Pipeline to the Veterinary Profession
- We encourage and support youths pursue veterinary and animal welfare professions through field trips to vet clinics and veterinary internships.
- Our partnership with the City and County of Denver Office of Economic Development has enabled teenage youths attain their first employment while helping animals and their own neighborhood at the same time.
Research & Knowledge Sharing
- We believe that people in public housing and animal welfare have much to learn from one another. Our great hope is for better-informed practices by animal welfare agencies and more resources and services at the community level.