Human Animal Support Services Working Group Updates
The Behavior Support working group has formed six subgroups (research, tier 1 interviews, community behavior support, tier 1 shelter support, education and measurement) who are each working on developing a plan for their subgroup. They are working on defining what constitutes a strong tier 1 shelter behavior program and creating a survey for behavior leads at tier 1 shelters to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.
The Building/Facilities Working Group has been tackling their tasks with a three pronged approach:
- The “outreach” subgroup has developed a plan for interfacing with all the other working groups that are related to facilities and has delegated tasks for reaching out.
- The “survey/data” subgroup is working on 1) gathering data about how people are using their facilities differently and 2) gathering floor plans and photos of tier one shelters, for use in evaluation.
- The “brainstorm” subgroup is doing just that. Building the framework of a new animal shelter facility, based on the social model, and into which we can feed information learned from “outreach” and “survey/data” subgroups.
The ecosystem mapping working group is developing two tools. One tool will be for community’s animal welfare organizations to see where gaps in important programming may exist so that shelters and non-profits could potentially pivot their programs to fill in those gaps. Or, this tool could be used to find where overlap and redundancies may occur so that organizations can streamline programs with partner groups. Additionally, this working group is also using this information to create a public facing tool for the general public to use to locate resources available in their community.
The Foster Working Group is meeting with each Tier 1 shelter in order to gain an in-depth understanding of foster care at each one. With this information, they'll help them develop their foster-centric organizations and use what they learn as a model for others. They will be having monthly meetings with foster points of contact at shelters on Tiers 1 & 2 and gathering information on peer-to-peer fostering, specialty foster programs and more.
The Fundraising Group has split into two teams to more effectively address anticipated challenges for the pilot shelters and future HASS participants. The first group is working to identify or, if necessary, help to develop a crowdfunding solution to enable pet owners facing financial hardships to fundraise directly to keep their pets as well as to fund HASS programs. The second group is drafting a playbook to assist shelters in effectively fundraising for HASS programs and non-sheltered animals.
Government Body Communications and Policy
The Government Body Communications Workgroup has surveyed the Tier 1 shelter directors to determine what their most immediate needs are in terms of collateral support materials to educate government officials as well as policy barriers that impeded HASS program implementation. We are compiling those results and have split into three subgroups in targeting HASS comms for government officials: 1) Budget Communications, 2) Policy Response 3) Strategic Communications.
The Government Budgeting working group is looking for innovative models to demonstrate the value of d animal services beyond the traditional role of human protection from animals, and ways to communicate the value of animal services to government decision makers. So far the group has had two meetings and is beginning to research metrics government officials consider when setting budgets for various non-animal-related services.
The Legal working group met and would like to serve as a resource for Tier 1 and Tier 2 shelters. Although we don't have attorneys from every state in the group, we would encourage any Tier 1 and Tier 2 shelter that is proposing a change or needs a change in their ordinance, statute, or regulations to get those to our working group so we can offer possible suggestions, language or work arounds. The American Bar Association Animal Law Committee is collecting names of pro bono attorneys who are willing to help with foster care issues, contracts, etc. in every state so if you need more information on this project feel free to contact us.
Marketing and Communications
The HASS Marketing and Communications Group has been working on overall branding elements of HASS, key messaging of the program, the introductory video, setting up social media channels, and the HASS website. We have been setting up the workflow of the group and identifying committees that can help with projects as they come in from the Executive Team, DEI Advisory Group, HASS shelters, and the other working groups. The working group has been identifying all key stakeholders of the project, storytelling ideas for our HASS shelters, any potential issues or barriers there could be associated with the HASS model and organizations getting involved, and buzzwords/key phrases to describe the work that our shelters are doing in their communities.
One Health Integration
The One Health Integration Working Group has been discussing a number of topics related to collaborating with human service agencies. These topics include: identifying human service agencies with work that overlaps with animal service agencies, key shifts in language and metrics that will be needed to build and maintain collaboration with human service agencies, and sharing examples of programs that are already integrating with human service agencies (e.g. food pantries, temporary sheltering due to domestic violence or eviction, natural disaster response). Next, we will be conducting a review of the academic literature and conducting interviews with organizations across the U.S. who have implemented human-animal support services. The current goal of our group is to identify best practices for aligning and connecting human and animal service agencies. We are considering expanding the scope of this work group to include One Health considerations, but are awaiting input from the Executive Committee.
Pet Supply and Demand
The Pet Supply and Demand group has broken out into two subgroups. They will determine what it would take to solve for supply/demand through national transport and determine what it would take to solve for supply/demand locally. During these breakout sessions they are discussing obstacles for current transport programs and proposed solutions to solve these challenges. The goal is to create resources for Tier 1 and Tier organizations to use and to solve for the obstacles and inefficiencies that sometimes occur with transport programs. The Pet Supply and Demand working group is also focusing on local solutions. They are meeting to focus on how to provide the most effective support to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 organizations when it comes to breaking down barriers to adoption, and creating a welcoming environment that encourages the local community to adopt.
The Research Working Group has been organizing the overall research vision the HASS model (i.e. what are all the moving parts and how do they relate), how those interact with one-health perspectives (i.e. Animal, Human, and Environment interactions), and how that vision relates to the missions of the individual working groups. We are about to begin a program designed to give individualized help and attention to working groups seeking to better understand the space of research related to their mission, design experiments to answer key questions about the efficacy of their ideas, and publish convincing evidence to help shape the future of sheltering and shelter-related research.
Tools and Tech
The Tools and Technology group is working on creating a database of technology platforms (both specific to the animal welfare industry and not) and aggregating as much information about each of those platforms such as a description, pricing model and specific case studies with a goal of creating a searchable catalogue of tools to help pilot shelters map a problem to a possible technology solution. Separately, a sub team is working on flushing out a menu of services the tech group can offer to other WGs and Pilot Shelters.
Transforming Shelter Clinic into a Foster Clinic
The Transforming Shelter Clinic group just completed a survey to send to Tier 1 organizations. They went through the research, hypothesis process, and are feeling encouraged about the data they will receive. The team has also completed a "Components to a Successful Foster Facing Clinic" document that focuses on what Tier 1 organizations will need to implement to best serve foster parents and pets. This document has initiated the beginning stages of a training toolbox for HASS shelters.
The Wildlife working group just completed a survey and will be starting the question/hypothesis process. They have had very insightful discussions about native, non-native, and exotic species and how shelters have historically handled them and what types of certifications, licenses, and training are available.