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The Best Friends Podcast Episode 24

More than 40 million Pets at Risk of Eviction
July 30th, 2020

In 2016, 2.3 million Americans lived in a home that was served an eviction notice. During the foreclosure crisis in 2008, 10 million Americans lost their home. Experts believe that by the end of this year, 28 million Americans will face eviction due to the economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every community in every state will be affected, and by our rough estimate, more than 40 million pets are facing eviction - and that’s on the low end. As eviction moratoriums across the country are beginning to expire, there are very legitimate fears about what this will mean for the number of pets and pet parents who will need help.

Programs such as temporary foster care ensure the human-animal bond is respected and keep pets with their families, but there simply aren’t enough diversion programs to meet the expected flood of requests. What can we do to prepare for what may be the biggest challenge we've faced in the modern era of animal sheltering?

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Guests this week
Jodi Polanski

Jodi Polanski

Executive Director & Founder, Lost Our Home Pet Rescue

Jodi Polanski founded Lost Our Home in 2008 in response to the thousands of pets in need as a result of the economic downturn and Phoenix-area foreclosure crisis. Prior to her career in non-profit, Jodi spent 16 years in sales and regional management in both the retail and mortgage industries. She used her extensive business experience to create an efficiently operated pet rescue center. With innovative programs like Maricopa County’s first official Pet Food Bank, a 90-Day Temporary Care Program, and partnerships with 3 Domestic Violence shelters and 2 homeless shelters, including helping to form/build and then run the daily operations at the Sojourner Domestic Violence Pet Companion Shelter, Jodi and Lost Our Home has become an industry leader, providing help for people and pets in crisis in situations such as housing loss, domestic violence, homelessness and hospitalization.

In 2011, Jodi received a scholarship from the Arizona State University Lodestar Nonprofit Management Institute and earned her Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has also been the recipient of many achievement awards throughout her career, being named “Executive Director of the Year” in the "Partnership category” by ONE- an organization for Non-Profit Executive Directors, “Outstanding Woman in Business” by the Phoenix Business Journal, and “Business Woman of the Year” by the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

Abby Volin

Abby Volin

President, Opening Doors

With her experience as an attorney and policy specialist as well as a lifetime animal lover, she fills a unique niche by integrating the legal, policy, and animal management aspects needed to craft smart, savvy, and safer residential and commercial property pet policies. As a nationally recognized subject matter expert on animal accommodation law, Abby uses her advocacy and creative problem-solving skills to facilitate positive outcomes and supportive environments for people and pets.

She has extensive experience developing and launching programs, forging strategic partnerships, employing innovative solutions that benefit all parties involved, and advocating for legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. Abby has been working in the animal welfare and policy sphere since 2009; but, it was her passion for working with people and business acumen that inspired Opening Doors.

Abby holds a JD from Loyola University Chicago and a BA in quantitative economics and community health from Tufts University as well as a certificate in mediation from The Center for Dispute Resolution.