Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The Oakland Housing Authority and the SPCA collaborate in the first of a kind partnership.
Oakland Housing Authority came to the SPCA in the spring, 2009, with a proposal. A nationally known model for a public housing authority with a mission to assure the availability of quality housing for low income persons, OHA is fully aware of the significant values animal companions have for people, and allows pets under 25 pounds in all of their units. Because of their pet friendly policy OHA approached the SPCA and asked for help in supporting the relationships of tenants and their pets. OHA provides 3,308 public housing units on 268 sites, 1,386 units at large developments, 1,615 units at scattered sites, and 307 units in mixed-finance partnerships, and 11, 142 section 8 leased housing units (rental assistance to private owners). Undeniably, a vast number or tenants and their pets will benefit from this project.
Several meetings with management from both groups took place to discuss how to best create a comprehensive, accessible program. A decision was made to begin by providing information, training and resources to OHA staff, as they are often the first ones to become aware of the need for pet support and education.
The first of three trainings was held on September 18, 2009. Most of the participants present were OHA maintenance and grounds employees. Some of the topics addressed included dog and cat myths verses facts, understanding cultural differences among training, pit bull education, bite prevention, ferals or strays, basic animal care, animal cruelty, abandonment or neglect, and available resources.
I had the pleasure of bringing one of our SPCA furry friends, Greta, a lovable pit bull to the training. She was a hit with most everyone, although there was one of two exceptions. (For the second training, one week later, I brought Chili, a small Chihuahua mix who sat in my lap as relaxed as the Buddha and charmed every last participant. Attendees at this training were OHA housing managers.)
The information was received with great interest and generated energetic participation. Incidents with pets, both negative and positive were shared and problem solving discussed. A lively question and answer period took place at the end of the training, along with an evaluation form for the participants to fill out.
Feedback was unanimous. Great project!
I agree! As an SPCA volunteer I can't wait to get more involved with this project. The next step will be offering training directly to the tenants. I'll keep you updated and informed so look for the next installment in a future bog.