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For Immediate Release
Press inquiry: Dondi Quintans, media@urinyc.org; Kyle McIntyre, kyle@thetascgroup.com  

Urban Resource Institute Hosts Annual Gala to Celebrate a

Decade of the PALS Program and the Human-Animal Bond

New York, NY – May 10, 2024 – Urban Resource Institute (URI) marked a significant milestone last night at the 2024 URI Celebration: A Decade Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, at the iconic Cipriani 25 Broadway, commemorating ten years of the groundbreaking People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program. Coinciding with National Pet Month, the event highlighted the transformative impact of PALS, the recent program expansion to support homeless families at the Uplift Family Residence and celebrated the continued commitment to providing safety for survivors of domestic violence and their pets.

Nathaniel Fields, CEO of Urban Resource Institute, reflected on the program’s success, stating, “Over the last decade, PALS has served as a beacon of hope and a model of innovative support for individuals and families escaping domestic violence. By ensuring that survivors do not have to choose between their safety and being separated from their pets, we have kept about 600 families and 800 pets together during their most vulnerable times. Our recent expansion into the Uplift Family Residence represents our ongoing commitment to meet the diverse needs of all families experiencing homelessness.” 

The celebration was hosted by ABC News veteran John Quiñones, who underscored the significance of the event during his opening remarks. “Tonight is more than a celebration; it’s a reaffirmation of our community’s commitment to protecting both people and their pets,” said Quiñones. “As someone who has seen firsthand the power of storytelling to drive change, I am incredibly proud to be part of URI’s efforts to shine a light on these crucial issues.” 

Whittaker Mack, III, Chair of URI’s Board of Trustees, emphasized the community’s role in supporting URI’s mission. “The success of URI and the PALS program is not just our achievement but a collective victory for all who support our mission. Each contribution helps us offer critical services and safe spaces for survivors and their families. As we look forward, your continued support is essential for the expansion of our services and facilities,” Mack,III, expressed.


Our honorees this evening exemplified the commitment and advocacy that are central to URI’s mission. The Banfield Foundation, recipient of our PALS Champion Award, played a pivotal role in enhancing our facilities, creating healing environments where pets and their owners could recover together. Jean Shafiroff, honored with the Trailblazer Award, was a beacon of passionate advocacy in philanthropy, women’s rights, and animal welfare. NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, our Visionary Award recipient, tirelessly worked towards equity and justice, profoundly influencing lives throughout New York City.

Elizabeth Rose, honored with the Triumph Award, shared her touching story of resilience and healing alongside her daughter Hazel and their cat Bebe, demonstrating the transformative impact of the PALS program on survivors and their families. “URI and the PALS program provided my daughter, Hazel, our cat Bebe, and me with more than shelter—they gave us a home and the time we needed to heal and grow strong. Their support has been a key ingredient in our journey toward a new life,” Rose stated during her acceptance speech.

The evening concluded with a call to action for continued community support to fund the development of a new PALS Pet Park at the URI New Visions shelter in Queens, which will provide a safe and therapeutic space for pets and their owners. 

URI is immensely grateful to our donors and supporters, whose generosity is crucial for the continuation and expansion of our vital programs that shelter and support over 3,700 individuals every night. We extend heartfelt thanks to our Platinum Sponsors—Churchgate, Cresa, Monadnock, and Gotham—as well as our other sponsors, for their generous contributions. A special thank you also goes to the Event Committee and the URI Board of Trustees, whose dedication was key in orchestrating such a memorable evening.

As URI looks to the future, they invite the community to join them in supporting their lifesaving work. Donations can be made through urinyc.org, aiding in the ongoing efforts to provide safe havens for individuals and families in crisis.

Visit our website to learn more about the 2024 URI Celebration and to download the digital event journal. For more information about URI and the PALS program or to arrange an interviews with URI leadership and survivors, please contact: Dondi Quintans at media@urinyc.org.


About Urban Resource Institute: URI is the largest provider of temporary housing for survivors of domestic violence in the country and a leading provider of transitional housing for families experiencing homelessness. Committed to ending cycles of violence and homelessness, URI offers trauma-informed, client-centered support to the families it serves. With 24 shelters in New York City, including 15 shelters specifically for domestic violence survivors, URI provides temporary housing to over 3,700 people each night and trauma-informed programming to approximately 40,000 people annually. Learn more by visiting www.urinyc.org.   

About the PALS Program: Launched in 2013, the People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program is the first of its kind in New York City and one of the few nationwide that allows survivors of domestic violence to co-shelter with their pets. The program reflects URI’s recognition of the importance of the human-animal bond, especially in times of crisis, and provides integrated services to ensure the safety and well-being of all family members during their stay in emergency housing. 

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