Tools & Information

COVID-19: Preparing for the Housing Crisis

Elise Traub, Best Friends' Senior Director of Legislation and Advocacy, leads a panel of housing and eviction experts from both the animal welfare and public housing fields. Their discussion includes how to get ahead of the curve, how to support families in crisis, and how to keep pets and families together.

Elizabeth Oreck, National Manger, Puppy Mill Initiatives, Best Friends Animal Society:
• Tell us a little bit about how Best Friends is increasing focus on pet-inclusive housing programs? -0:02:16

Flora Arabo, National Director for State and Local policy, Enterprise Community Partners:
• Tell us a little bit about Enterprise Community Partners and your work there? -0:08:03
• As a nonprofit outside of animal welfare, can you tell us about the challenges that families are facing right now during the pandemic and the associated housing and economic crisis? -0:10:05
• Knowing that two-thirds of American homes have pets, we in the animal welfare field know that people losing their housing affects both pets and people. What recommendations do you have for animal welfare organizations on how to best support families who are facing eviction? -0:13:22

Subi Abrose, Executive Director, Matrix Housing Services:
• How does Matrix Housing Services help families in transition? -0:19:00
• You do a lot of work with families with pets, which is uncommon in public housing, can you talk about how you were able to bridge that gap? -0:20:40
• With evictions on the rise and more expected, what is MHS doing to prepare? -0:23:40

Shannon Glenn, Executive Director, My Pit Bull is Family:
• My Pit Bull is Family is a well-known name in animal welfare, but for those who aren’t familiar with your organization’s work, can you tell us a little about your background and explain the advocacy work your organization does? -0:26:09
• What kind of guidance and leadership can MPBIF provide for shelters and rescues in those communities where pets and people need support? -0:28:26
• Intake-diversion and owner retention are a large part of operations now that organizations are limiting intake due to COVID restrictions. What pro-active steps can shelters and rescues take today to prepare to help families in crisis? -0:29:33

Audience Q&A:
• Is there a way to support landlords so they can house people at risk of not making rent? Do incentives exist? -0:31:11
• What are key talking points when building relationships with landlord to sell the value of keeping pets? -0:36:20
• How can animal welfare leaders determine which housing organizations they can best work with to support housing stability? -0:40:12
• What can individuals do to help keep pets in their homes? -0:42:00
• Who is the best person to contact landlords on behalf of pet owners? Attorneys? Social workers? Shelter staff? -0:46:01
• What is a good starting point, and practical advice, for tackling this issue locally? Especially in small communities? -0:51:15

Elise Traub holding an ear tipped long haired creamsicle cat

Elise Traub

Senior Director of Legislation and Advocacy, Best Friends Animal Society

Elise leads Best Friends’ legislative efforts, advocacy and outreach campaigns, and grassroots engagement. She oversees a diverse team of attorneys, policy experts, research analysts and advocacy professionals who are working to achieve Best Friends’ goal to make the country no-kill by 2025. 


Elizabeth Oreck holding a small Australian Shepherd

Elizabeth Oreck

National Manger, Puppy Mill Initiatives, Best Friends Animal Society

As National Manager of puppy mill initiatives, Elizabeth is working to end puppy mills through adoption, education, advocacy and legislation.  As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, she has also been working on housing programs, partnerships and policies to help keep pets and families together during and after this challenging time.

Headshot of Flora Arabo

Flora Arabo

National Director for State and Local policy, Enterprise Community Partners

Flora leads Enterprise Community Partners' state and local policy strategy. She advises Markets on developing a comprehensive approach to achieve policies that expand local resources for affordable housing, promote inclusive development practices and reverse outdated patterns of residential segregation.

Shannon glen with a friendly pit bull dog

Shannon Glenn

Executive Director, My Pit Bull is Family

As an expert in housing policy and surrender prevention, Shannon has extensive experience in grassroots campaigns, voter outreach, community outreach, fundraising, and homeless advocacy. She holds a Master’s in Advocacy and Political Leadership focusing on drafting policies to end housing and insurance discrimination for families with large dogs.

headshot of Subi Ambrose

Subi Ambrose

Executive Director, Matrix Housing Services

An original founder of Matrix Housing Services, Subi and her business partner Kristen Brown started MHS to fill the gaps in service available to people experiencing homelessness with pets. Native to Minnesota, Subi is passionate about caring for her community in her home state and hopes to influence this industry to become more animal friendly. 


Best Friends Podcast Episode 24: More than 40-million Pets at Risk of Eviction