Our work with dogs

We know that dogs can provide powerful emotional support to people affected by homelessness. That’s why we are one of the only charities that welcomes pets into our hostels. We understand that when a best friend is not welcome, the option of somewhere safe and warm to sleep is not really an option at all.

Enza and Lily's story

Enza found herself living in a park for two years, and struggled to find somewhere suitable to stay, because a lot of hostels don’t allow dogs. St Mungo’s offered her a place in their women’s only, dog friendly hostel, and also helped her find independent accommodation in partnership with Housing First.

“My name is Enza, and I was homeless for two years.

When I was homeless, I lived in a tent in the park. In the winter it was really cold and windy, and if I didn’t have a tent, I would have been soaking wet. The park was open 24 hours too, so anybody could have come in and hurt me. If it wasn’t for my dog, Lilly I wouldn’t have been safe at all.

It was hard to find accommodation, because a lot of hostels don’t allow dogs. I wouldn’t get rid of Lilly for anyone – she’s like a kid to me. I’ve had her since she was born, and now she’s eight years old. She’s comfy, lovable, and very friendly, and I feel safe with her.

Eventually, I met St Mungo’s, and was offered a place in one of their women’s only, dog friendly hostels. It was good to be in a women’s only space, and the staff were very friendly. I was born dyslexic, and they’d help me fill in forms and do a bit of reading and writing. If I had any problems, they’d help me.

Whilst I was at the hostel, I was referred to Housing First, who helped me get independent accommodation. I’ve been there for about a year now and I’m really happy – I’ve got my own front door, it’s private and my landlord’s lovely. I’ve also got my own caseworker who helps me to manage my bills and other things.

I like making stuff, and I’ve recently started going to woodwork classes run by St Mungo’s recovery college. So far I’ve made a caddy, and soon I’m going to do a table. I enjoy it because it occupies my mind. I’ve got lots of other things to look forward to too – St Mungo’s is helping me to go on holiday to Devon with my best friend, and I’m also turning 50 – I’m so excited!

I think there needs to be more support for people who are homeless, especially women. Women are in more danger on the streets, but they don’t get as much help as men.”