Webinar Recording Available: Creating a Community of Care: Co-Sheltering Families and Their Pets

Webinar Description:

Enrich your experience of the Beyond Housing magazine by hearing from its authors and your colleagues. Join us on August 9 at 12 pm for a webinar—“Creating a Community of Care: Co-Sheltering Families and Their Pets.”

Join practitioners from Urban Resource Institute to learn about their innovative People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program and ways providers can begin incorporating pets into their services for homeless families. In the first half of the session, PALS Director Danielle Emery will share examples of surprises, challenges, and lessons learned in the development and long-term success of the PALS program. The second piece of the webinar, led by PALS Technical Assistance and Training Coordinator Colleen Parker, will focus on the significant role of animal relationships in trauma recovery and how affirming relationships with pets can promote dignity in the healing process.

Both pieces of this webinar will highlight the importance of human-animal relationships to both adults and children, and what we as service providers can do to affirm and protect the relationships our clients value. A former participant in the PALS program will share their lived experience with domestic violence and homelessness, and the positive impact being able to remain with their pet had on their family. Attendees will leave the webinar having brainstormed some small, actionable strategies to start implementing pet-inclusive concepts into their programs and communities.

Webinar Participants:

Caroline Iosso, Senior Policy Associate, Homes for the Homeless (HFH), Welcome and Facilitation, coauthor of “The Data Digest”

  • Caroline Iosso is the Senior Policy Associate at Homes for the Homeless (HFH), where she conducts research and shares information about family homelessness with local and national stakeholders. Prior to joining HFH, Caroline was the Director of Advocacy and Strategic Communication at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow. She has also worked as a shelter caseworker in Colorado, a fair housing advocate in Brooklyn, and a policy fellow with the New York City Council. Caroline holds a Bachelor’s in Geography and Latin American Studies from Vassar College and a Master’s in Public Administration from NYU Wagner.


Danielle Emery, Director, People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program at Urban Resource Institute, author of “Creating a Community of Care: DV Survivors, Homeless Families, and Their Pets”

  • Danielle Emery is the Director of the People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program at Urban Resource Institute. In this role she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of PALS at URI’s domestic violence shelters, along with program development, outreach, training & technical assistance and advocacy to promote supportive, trauma-informed programs for survivors of domestic violence and their pets. Prior to joining URI, Danielle oversaw admissions and foster programs at the ASPCA Adoption Center where she witnessed firsthand the need for programs that keep people and pets together, especially in moments of crisis. She was previously responsible for the programmatic aspects of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery, a research center dedicated to examining the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence, with a focus on the effectiveness of restorative justice interventions for abusive partners. Danielle is a graduate of Tufts University and NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Her dog Pork Chop is a constant source of comfort and her inspiration for helping people and their animals.

Colleen Parker, Technical Assistance and Training Coordinator, Urban Resource Institute’s People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program

  • Colleen Parker is the Technical Assistance and Training Coordinator at the Urban Resource Institute’s People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program in New York, New York. She supports the PALS program’s mission by developing and implementing education initiatives and providing direct support for both human and animal-facing service providers looking to support domestic violence survivors with pets in their communities. Colleen’s career so far has spanned emergency veterinary medicine, social work, and public policy, giving her a deep appreciation of the importance of the human-animal bond. These dynamic experiences, as well as her own strong bond with her “therapy cat,” Killian, inform Colleen’s work to promote the wellbeing and dignity of at-risk individuals and families—including the animals they love.