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URIPALS, NYC’s Only Program to House Domestic Violence Victims with Their Pets, Expands to Harlem

URI’s Urban Women’s Retreat emergency shelter to include 12 pet-friendly apartments

(New York, August 17, 2015)Urban Resource Institute (URI) today announced the expansion of URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely), New York City’s only program that enables domestic violence survivors and their pets to reside together in shelter. The URIPALS program is now available at Urban Women’s Retreat (UWR), an emergency shelter located in Harlem. The expansion will run an initial six-month pilot at UWR, housing domestic violence survivors together with their pets, including cats and dogs, in 12 pet-friendly apartments. URI is partnering with a number of organizations, including the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and the ASPCA, to expand URIPALS to UWR.

“There is a tremendous need for domestic violence shelters to open their doors to pets, both nationally and right here in NYC,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of URI. “As members of the family, pets provide stability and comfort to survivors during the difficult transitional period, facilitating the healing process and helping them to move forward with their lives. The expansion of URIPALS to UWR brings us one step closer to our goal of implementing the program across all four of URI’s domestic violence shelters.”

URI launched URIPALS in June 2013 in response to the overwhelming need among domestic violence victims and their families for shelters that would accept pets. Since launching at URI’s Safe Haven shelter in Brooklyn, NY, URI has assisted 39 families and 59 pets, including 36 cats, 16 dogs, 6 turtles and 1 fish,  escape domestic violence, heal and rebuild their lives. As many as 48 percent of victims of domestic violence remain in abusive situations for fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and 71 percent of pet owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that the abuser has threatened, harmed or killed a family pet.

The expansion of URIPALS to UWR will not only provide families with the opportunity to bring their pets with them when entering the shelter, but will also provide a range of services for the pets including medical exams, vaccinations, behavioral support, spay and neuter surgery, and fostering.

“We are delighted with URI’s commitment to expand its co-sheltering capacity for families with pets experiencing domestic violence in New York City, and we are proud to support their efforts,” said Jane Hoffman, President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. “The URIPALS program allows pet owners access to emergency shelter without having to give up their beloved animals. In this way, it ensures a new standard of support in New York City for domestic violence survivors.”

“The ASPCA commends URI’s expansion of this innovative program that is keeping animals and their owners together during times of crisis,” said Allison Cardona, senior director of the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program. “We encourage shelters in New York City and across the country to implement similar programs that help save and protect the lives of both pets and people.”

URI’s four domestic violence shelters in New York City served close to 1000 clients, including 348 adults and 632 children, in 2014. For more information about URI’s domestic violence services, tips to keep the whole family safe or to support the organization, please visit www.urinyc.org.

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 35-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.

ASPCA Pledges Continued Support for URIPALS, NYC’s Only Program to House Domestic Violence Victims with Their Pets

$75,000 grant from the ASPCA to fund vital services for domestic violence survivors and their pets

(New York, June 8, 2015)Urban Resource Institute (URI) is pleased to announce that it has received a $75,000 grant from the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), in support of URIPALS, New York City’s only program that shelters domestic violence victims with their pets. This is the second consecutive year that the ASPCA has awarded the grant to URI.

URI launched URIPALS in June 2013 as a pilot program in response to the great need among domestic violence victims and their families for shelters that would accept pets. As many as 48 percent of victims of domestic violence remain in abusive situations for fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and 71 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers have threatened, harmed or killed a family pet.ASPCA logo high-res_sq

The 2015 grant from the ASPCA will continue to fund a URIPALS coordinator position established by an initial grant in 2014. Over the past year, the URIPALS coordinator has worked closely with families and pets within URI’s largest emergency shelter to provide the support and services they need to heal and move forward with their lives. In addition to funding the URIPALS coordinator position, ASPCA has worked to ensure that pets entering the URIPALS program received proper care via its Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program and the ASPCA Animal Hospital, providing pets with medical exams, vaccinations, behavioral support, spay and neuter surgery, and fostering.

“Pets are members of the family and no one, especially victims of domestic violence, should have to make the impossible decision to leave their pets behind during times of crisis,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of URI. “With the help of the ASPCA, URI is working to ensure that fewer victims of domestic violence and their families have to make the terrible choice between their safety and leaving a pet. As URIPALS continues to grow, it is our hope that the program will serve as a model for sheltering families with their pets nationwide.”

“We’re honored to continue supporting this innovative program that is keeping people and pets together during times of crisis,” said Allison Cardona, senior director of the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program. “Allowing survivors to be with their pets during this critical time provides comfort and stability that facilitates the healing process as they move forward with their lives. We urge shelters in New York City and across the country to implement similar programs that make it possible for pets and people to stay together.”

Since 2013, with the support of partners including the ASPCA, Purina and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, URIPALS has helped 36 families and 54 pets escape domestic violence, heal and rebuild their lives.

URIPALS client success stories:

  • In order to escape their abuser, a mother and her three children sought refuge at a domestic violence shelter in New York City; however, the shelter was unable to accommodate Peppah, the family dog. To keep Peppah with the family, the mother hid the dog in her car and often snuck her into the shelter, risking discharge from the shelter. Once Peppah was discovered, the mother was referred to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals who temporarily fostered the dog. Despite the family being safe in shelter, they longed to once again be with Peppah. In February 2014, URIPALS began to accept small dogs. As a result, the family was transferred to the new URIPALS shelter where they were reunited with Peppah, becoming the first URIPALS family with a dog in shelter.
  • Jasmin was trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship and her two dogs Tony and Teresa were caught in the crossfire. When Jasmin made the decision to leave her abuser, she knew there was no way she could do so without Tony and Teresa. Thankfully, Jasmin learned of URIPALS and was able to come to the emergency shelter with her dogs. Although Jasmin, Tony and Teresa were all suffering at the time they entered the shelter, they were able to begin to heal together as a family thanks to the URIPALS coordinator and services provided by the ASPCA. Today, Jasmin, Tony and Teresa are preparing to leave the shelter and restart their lives.

URI’s four domestic violence shelters in New York City served close to 1000 clients, including 348 women and 632 children, in 2014. For more information about URI’s domestic violence services and for tips to keep the whole family safe, please visit www.urinyc.org.

In addition to support from its partners, URI relies on donations from individuals to deliver vital services to some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations. To Support URI and the URIPALS program, please visit urinyc.org/get-involved/donations/.

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 35-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

URI Remembers Co-Founder, Former Chair of the Board and Community Activist Horace L. Morancie

HoraceMorancieURI joins the New York City community in mourning the loss of URI co-founder and former Board Chair Horace L. Morancie. A true force for positive change in his community, Morancie dedicated his life to bettering the lives of his fellow New Yorkers.

“Horace Morancie’s passing has left all those who were fortunate enough to know him with heavy hearts,” said URI president and CEO Nathaniel Fields. “His commitment to serving others has left an indelible impact on our organization. Despite our collective sadness, Horace leaves behind a legacy of hope that serves as continued inspiration to us all.”

“It is with great sadness that I received news of Horace Morancie’s passing,” said Whittaker Mack III, Chair of the URI Board of Trustees. “I had the pleasure of serving with him on the URI board for years and can say with certainty that his character and commitment will not soon be forgotten.”

Morancie, one of the co-founders of URI, a former chair of the URI board, and a long-time trustee of the organization, fought to provide vital social services to the people of New York City. Morancie worked closely with his fellow founders to develop programs at URI to address several community issues including housing, job training and domestic violence. Following his time on the URI board, Morancie remained an active supporter of the organization and its mission until his death.

In addition to his work with URI, Morancie was selected by Mayor John Lindsay to lead the Central Brooklyn Model Cities program as part of the Great Society and War on Poverty initiatives of the 1960s and 70s. Morancie’s respected leadership and tireless commitment to social service helped lay the groundwork for URI, which today provides domestic violence, addiction, and developmental disabilities services to more than 1,400 residents of New York City every year.

Urban Resource Institute Awarded Avon Foundation For Women Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Grant For Avon Domestic Violence Survivor Empowerment Program

Avon Foundation Awards $1 Million to Fund 16 Coordinator Positions in Domestic Violence Organizations Across the United States

logo-speak-out

(New York, NY – February 10, 2015) – The Avon Foundation for Women has awarded a $62,500 one-year grant to Urban Resource Institute (URI) in support of its Avon Domestic Violence Survivor Empowerment Program, which provides annual funding for 16 full-time Economic Empowerment Coordinator positions in domestic violence agencies across the U.S. Since the Avon Domestic Violence Survivor Empowerment Program launched, the Avon Foundation has supported 111 coordinator positions throughout the U.S. by providing more than $6.5 million in grants.

The Avon Domestic Violence Survivor Empowerment Program is part of the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative, which launched in 2004 to help end the cycle of domestic violence. The Avon Foundation for Women has donated nearly $38 million for domestic and gender violence programs in the United States, including support for awareness, education, direct service and prevention.

The critical funds awarded to Urban Resource Institute will make an immediate difference to domestic violence survivors in New York City. Coordinators help provide domestic violence survivors with vital resources and economic empowerment tools necessary to develop self-sufficiency, so that they are able to lead independent, violence-free lives.

“One out of every four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence during their lifetime,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “With the Avon Foundation for Women’s generous grant, Urban Resource Institute will be able to continue its tradition of providing innovative solutions to those whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence in New York City.”

The Avon Foundation for Women grant will be used by Urban Resource Institute to support its Working Internship Network (WIN) program. Since 1998, WIN has provided domestic violence victims with financial literacy, computer and job skills training. In 2014 alone, 80 domestic violence survivors participated in the WIN program.

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 35-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.

Avon Foundation for Women

The Avon Foundation for Women, the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women. Through 2013, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated more than $957 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.

Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

The Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, as well as direct services for victims and their families. Through 2013, the Avon Foundation for Women has donated nearly $38 million in the United States to support domestic violence programs, services and education. Globally, Avon supports efforts to end violence against women in nearly 50 countries by raising funds through special product sales and educating women around the world through its army of more than 6 million Avon Representatives. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.

For more Information

For more information on {name of your program} at {name of your organization}, please call {name} at {phone}. For more information about domestic violence services, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or online at www.ndvh.org.

Contact:

Kevin Maloney
Group Gordon
(212) 784-5716
Kmaloney@groupgordon.com

URI Chosen as Mary Kay Foundation Grant Recipient

mary-kayThe Mary Kay Foundation has awarded URI a $20,000 grant to support our domestic violence shelter programs. With this funding, we are able to provide computer training to interns in our Working Internship Network program, which gives shelter residents valuable job training and experience that empowers them to move forward and attain self-sufficiency.

Since 2000, the foundation has provided annual grant funding to domestic violence organizations that assist survivors and work to prevent and eliminate abuse. In 2014, the foundation awarded a total of $3 million to 150 domestic violence shelters throughout the United States, serving an estimated 400,000 women and children. “URI is grateful to the Mary Kay Foundation for its support and recognition of the work we do to help survivors recover from domestic violence and rebuild their lives,” said URI President and CEO Nathaniel Fields.

Gifts and Celebrations Make Holidays Bright for URI’s Shelter Families

Donated Gifts and Toys Collected and Distributed

Donated Gifts and Toys Collected and Distributed

New York-area organizations and URI supporters sponsored toy and gift drives and hosted parties that brought holiday cheer to families and individuals in URI’s domestic violence shelters. We deeply appreciate the participation and support of these generous sponsors and organizers: Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), Greater New York Chapter of The Links, Inc., Harlem Community Advisory Board, Disney/ABC, Brooklyn NAACP, Avon, Morgan Stanley, CPW boutique owner Linda Wolff, Lions Club, Safe Haven Community Advisory Board, Brooklyn Reading Council, Berean Baptist Church, and Landon Dais and the Grant Access Company.

Highlights:
Harlem community leaders partnered with the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence to organize the 5th Annual Harlem Toy Drive, held during the #HavPlentyBrunch at The Cecil Harlem.

URI volunteer and domestic violence survivor Linda Wolff organized a holiday clothing and toy drive at her Upper West Side boutique, CPW, to benefit URI shelter residents.

The Harlem Community Advisory Board and Disney/ABC Television Group donated $1,200 to sponsor a holiday party for shelter residents. Gifts to residents included books donated by Disney and handmade scarfs donated by Disney BlanketEARS.

The Links collected and distributed toys and gifts and hosted a party at Urban Women’s Retreat, with food, dancing, face painting and a visit from a Macy’s Santa.

MBBA distributed toys and gifts and generously donated $750 to sponsor a holiday party for families at Urban Women’s New Beginnings shelter.

URI’s #DVfree Video Campaign Momentum Continues

dvfree-campaignURI’s national video campaign to prevent domestic violence, launched last October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, features intimate accounts by domestic violence survivors who have come forward to tell their stories, vividly highlighting the impact of abuse and the path to healing and recovery. Thank you to all our friends and supporters who have participated in the campaign—to date, the videos have received more than 43,000 views! Please continue to help us make the world #DVfree by sharing these stories with your social networks. Watch and share the videos

Acclaimed Actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick Join URI’s #DVfree Campaign!

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick photo
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick have taken to Twitter to help us spread the word about URI’s #DVfree video campaign! URI is so grateful for their support. Please retweet their messages (@kevinbacon and @kyrasedgwick) and follow their lead: Post your own photo and message on Facebook and Twitter about your commitment to help make the world free of domestic violence. Please watch the videos and share these courageous survivor stories with your social networks: www.urinyc.org/dvfree

Purina #BetterWithPets Summit: URIPALS in the Spotlight

Left to right: John Hockenberry of NPR; survivor Pamela Isaac; Rita Garza of URI

Left to right: John Hockenberry of NPR; survivor Pamela Isaac; Rita Garza of URI


Rita Garza of URI and domestic violence survivor Pamela Isaac spoke about the impact of the URIPALS program at the Purina #BetterWithPets Summit in New York City on October 14. Isaac, who was able to bring her three cats with her into shelter because of URIPALS, spoke movingly about what it meant to her to be able to keep her pets with her. Purina, a URIPALS sponsor and partner, invited URI to participate in the summit, which was streamed live online to a worldwide audience. The presentation was one of 15 by a range of experts who highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and pets.

Urban Resource Institute Launches National Video Campaign for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The “DV Free” campaign will roll out a series of never-before-seen survivor video testimonials, calling on Americans to stand up for a world free of domestic violence

NEW YORK – October 1, 2014 – To kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Urban Resource Institute (URI), New York City’s first and only domestic violence services provider to open its doors to pets, today announced the launch of its national video campaign, titled “DV Free.” The video series profiles domestic violence survivors who are coming forward to share their stories publicly for the very first time, with the goal of raising critical awareness about our collective responsibility to stand up for a world free of domestic violence.

“There has never been a more critical time to stand up against abuse,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of the Urban Resource Institute. “We know that an alarming one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and that’s one too many. By leading the charge for a world free of domestic violence, the Urban Resource Institute is calling on everyone to do their part—whether big or small—to help end the cycle of violence and pledge their commitment to becoming DV free.”

Throughout October, URI will unveil new videos each week, offering a rare glimpse into the dark realities of domestic violence from different vantage points, including men, children, and families with pets. Each video showcases the diverse ways that abuse—whether physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or economic—has no boundaries and affects people of all ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds. Viewers will be encouraged to share the videos widely via social media platforms, using the hashtag #DVfree.

Among the domestic violence survivors sharing the intimate stories of their abuse:

Titi, 29, was in an abusive relationship for nearly three years. To escape the abuse one day, she jumped off her second-story balcony and broke her leg from her knee down to her ankle; she was hospitalized for five months as a result. As she began her healing process at URI, Titi said, “I feel like I’m releasing a lot of things I went through—all my pain. I don’t have to look over my shoulder anymore.”

Linda, 60, demonstrates that domestic violence can affect any of us. A successful entrepreneur who owns a clothing boutique on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and sponsors clothing drives and other activities that benefit URI’s shelter residents, Linda was in an abusive relationship for 15 years until she finally broke free. “I want people to understand that there’s no typical face of domestic violence—people think it’s a problem that only affects lower-income and minority groups,” she said. Another problem is that “people don’t talk about it. I see the impact it has on the women in URI’s shelters when I share my story with them. I wish there had been someone to talk to me that way.”

Jose, 21, often witnessed his mother being abused by his stepfather. “I was younger, so my mom would always tell me to not get involved, that it was her problem,” Jose said. When his mother left the relationship, he entered URI’s shelter with her. “As a child, you don’t want to see your mom going through that. Domestic violence is not something you want your child around at all.”

Ebony, 32, was in shelter at URI for six months. “I always looked at myself as a person who was strong,” she explained. “Then I met this one guy who took that all away from me. The worst moment was when my 14-year-old daughter walked into the room, because she heard her mother hollering and screaming. To hear her say, ‘Leave my mom alone’—that’s when I felt I had to leave.” Ebony is currently facing the challenge many domestic violence survivors experience in New York City—finding affordable housing upon leaving shelter.

Ashley, 22, was raised in a physically and emotionally abusive home, and fell victim to the cycle of violence when she wound up in an abusive relationship as an adult. “I thought this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with until the beating started,” she said. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had to fight.”

Ana, 25, grew up in a home where her father abused her mother. “I thought that was what love looked like,” she admitted. “When I was in my first serious relationship as an adult, being abused emotionally, physically, and economically felt normal. It was all I knew.” Ana spent six months healing at one of URI’s domestic violence shelters. “My journey at URI has completely shifted my perspective, and I hope my story can be a lesson to others about the importance of making all relationships free of domestic violence.”

Muriel broke free of an abusive relationship and entered a URI shelter with her daughter in 2009 but was forced to separate with her dog, Jasmine, since shelters weren’t equipped to take in pets at the time. “There were nights where I just wished that I had my dog to comfort me when I was worried and feeling alone,” said Muriel of her shelter stay. “An animal is never going to be able to ask for help, but pets are often subjected to violence and physical abuse in order to manipulate the victim into acting the way the abuser wants them to.” In 2013, Muriel helped celebrate the launch of URI’s URIPALS—People and Animals Living Safely—New York City’s first-ever initiative to enable domestic violence survivors to enter shelter with their pets.

With awareness being critical to the campaign’s mission, URI is taking to social media to build momentum for the cause. Show your support for a #DVfree world on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about URI’s “DV Free” Campaign, or for vital awareness and safety planning tips, visit www.urinyc.org/dvfree.

About Urban Resource Institute

Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 34-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.