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Media Contact: Dondi Quintans  
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications 
Urban Resource Institute 
dquintans@urinyc.org, (646) 823-2239


New Legislative & Policy Blueprint Unveiled: PALS Paw Print for Action

New York – May 23, 2023 – Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of domestic violence (DV) shelter services in the U.S. and a leading provider of shelter and services for homeless families, launched the year-long 10th anniversary celebration of its pioneering People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program with the opening of the PALS Place Pet Haven rooftop garden in Brooklyn, New York.

For over 40 years, URI has been an innovative leader in DV prevention, intervention, and comprehensive services and shelter across New York City, focused on removing barriers to safety and healing. One often unseen barrier is pet ownership: our research shared in the PALS Report & Survey shows 50% of domestic violence survivors will NOT leave without their pet, yet less than 20% of shelters accommodate pets, forcing individuals to choose between safety or a beloved pet. URI is an exception. In 2013, URI created and launched the groundbreaking PALS Program that allows DV survivors and pets to stay and heal together.Today, the PALS Program includes 9 DV shelters across NYC with 304 apartment units, and a training program that reaches DV service providers across the country – addressing risk factors and delivering effective, innovative safety and healing to those impacted by domestic violence. 

Celebrating 10 Years of Impact 

Among the dignitaries sharing in today’s celebration were Council Member Farah Louis, who represents the Brooklyn district in which PALS Place is located; Debbie Louis, Brooklyn Regional Director, Office of New York State Governor Kathy Hochul; Deputy Commissioner Rima Rivera, New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA); and Commissioner Cecile Noel, Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), representatives from the New York State Office for Children and Family Services and the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Also present were former URI PALS clients and advocates Hope Dawson and Vanessa Santiago, with Vanessa offering inspiring reflections on her journey of triumph.

The new Pet Haven is a rooftop garden at PALS Place, a seven-story, Tier II DV shelter offering 30 -pet-friendly units, along with comprehensive programs and services for people and pets. PALS Place can accommodate 100 adults and children at any given time in apartment-style units, and offers shared spaces specially designed for the comprehensive programs offered to clients along with on-site staff offices.  

All PALS Place units are pet-friendly, fully furnished, and equipped with all the supplies needed for the family and pets. Amenities include a pet park; community room for meetings, therapy groups, and educational workshops; a recreation room for children and adults to read, complete homework, and access computers; and an indoor and outdoor childcare playroom offering toys, games, and educational and socialization support. As part of the comprehensive programs and services offered by URI at all sites, PALS Place clients also receive case management, crisis counseling, safety planning, educational and support groups, childcare, permanent housing placement, referrals, recreational activities, legal support, and economic empowerment services. 


Unveiling the Paw Print for Action – A Policy & Legislative Road Map

During the celebration, and as a cornerstone of the PALS 10th Anniversary activations, URI unveiled the PALS Policy Paw Print for Action. The Paw Print provides city, state and federal lawmakers with a blueprint to make all residential shelters fully pet inclusive. One of the bills in the Paw Print will help drive down costs by allowing veterinarians to satisfy a portion of their continuing education credits by providing free care to animals in temporary shelter. The bill, which will soon be introduced, will be carried by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.  

“In 2013 URI identified the intersection of domestic violence and pets as a barrier to safety and healing, and we took bold action to create the pioneering People and Animals Living Safely program, piloting it in one site. Today, the PALS Program is in nine of the 25 URI sites   of New York City, with a training and tech assistance that reaches across the country. ” stated Nathaniel M. Fields, CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “ Understanding the need for policy and legislation to drive significant change, this year, we’ve developed Paw Print for Action as a guide for lawmakers who share URI’s commitment to removing barriers to safety by expanding opportunities for co-living. If passed, PawPrint would have meaningful impact, such as helping reduce the cost of veterinary care for animals co-living in shelter by allowing veterinarians to satisfy a portion of their continuing education credit by providing free veterinary care.

URI intends to build a deep bench of elected champions who believe in the profound power of the human-animal bond in times of trauma, and who will partner with us to realize the full potential of PALS, statewide in New York while continuing to influence across the country and beyond.


Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “With the tremendous need for veterinary care in shelters this is an excellent way to help providers meet their educational requirements while animals staying with people in shelters get care they desperately need. I’m proud to continue my work on animal welfare issues by sponsoring this bill in the Senate.”

“I am honored to join today’s launch of the year-long, tenth anniversary celebration of URI’s People & Animals Living Safely (PALS) program with the opening of the PALS Place Pet Haven rooftop garden,” said Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel. “Every day survivors are fleeing their homes and the people who cause them harm. Our long-standing partner URI has been leading the way in providing critical, comprehensive services and support for survivors and their families. Their innovative PALS program creates an additional path to safety for survivors who often encounter many barriers, and it provides a place for survivors to start the healing process from the trauma of domestic and gender-based violence.”  

Financing for the PALS Place includes funding from the NYC Human Resources Administration.

View full event album here

About Urban Resource Institute:
Urban Resource Institute (URI) transforms the lives of domestic violence survivors and homeless families by empowering individuals, families, and communities, particularly communities of color and other vulnerable populations, to end cycles of domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, and trauma by increasing safety and resiliency. As the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the US and a leading provider of homeless services, URI’s programs impact more than 40,000 individuals annually through prevention, intervention, education, and direct services in both residential and non-residential settings in New York. URI is recognized as a thought-leader with influence across the U.S. and beyond. In particular on the intersection of domestic violence and pets and the issue of economic abuse. For more information, visit www.urinyc.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter   

If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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