Funding for the EWA program cares for animals that belong to some of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of the community. We care for the animals of people in crisis e.g. people experiencing domestic violence, mental health challenges, severe illness or homelessness, until the owner and their pet can be re-united with each other.
For people in crisis, their pets are often the only constant they have in their lives and they will do all they can to ensure they stay together. Many people will put their animals first, even if it puts their own welfare at risk. They delay accessing support or attempting to leave an unsafe situation if they can’t stay with their pet. Research suggests that a person will stay 8 times longer in a domestic violence situation if they have a pet. Lort Smith receive no ongoing government funding so this program is only possible to deliver because of the generous support of grantees and donors.
EWA is one of the key services to the community that we provide, it is a critical missing link in the social support network which offers care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged people of Melbourne. Unfortunately some people’s lives reach a point where they are unable to properly look after themselves or their pets due to the circumstances they are facing. In these cases the EWA program offers temporary care to enable them to get the help they need without having to worry about their pet or the financial costs, knowing that they can be reunited once they are back on their feet.
The need for this service has continued to grow over time and unfortunately each year we are forced to turn away more people than we can help.
EWA will support approximately 50-70 animals each year allowing their family member/s to take the time to get back on their feet. Working with 18 external organisations EWA fills the gap of supporting those pet owners in our community with temporary care for their pet at no cost to themselves. EWA is a collaborative initiative which also requires input and commitment from a number of areas and functions within Lort Smith including adoption centre staff, volunteers and foster carers who provide day-today care for the animals and Lort Smith's veterinary and hospital staff who check, diagnose and provide the necessary treatment required.
Lort Smith uses the results which we record for EWA to assess our performance in the delivery of this service, in particular monitor our achievement of the primary objectives of the program, i.e. to re-unite pets with their owner and to ensure that the animals that we take in under this program are receiving the care and treatment that they need.
The results form part of our standard reporting both for internal organisational metrics, for our annual report and for information to Lort Smith supporters and donor base.
We use the results to assess the rates at which pets are re-united with their owners which is one of the primary objectives of the program and share on request to partnering organisations.
Lort Smith works with over 18 external organisations to deal with the delivery of the EWA program. A number of these are social welfare organisations whose case workers refer clients with pets to Lort Smith when the need arises, i.e. when a pet owner is dealing with a crisis or is in a difficult situation which requires temporary care for their pet.
•Department of Housing
•Epping Psychiatric Unit
•Melbourne City Mission just to name a few.
EWA supports some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in Melbourne and their pets. Mental health, homelessness, hospitalisation, incarceration and domestic violence are common reasons for people seeking our help and is 100% donor funded.