Pet food donations are helping to lift some of the stress for Terra Firma residents who have been struggling to feed both themselves and their furry friends during the cost of living crisis.
Thanks to local charity Safe Pets Safe Families, Terra Firma now receives food every two to three weeks through its Paws and Pals program. The charity has been supporting South Australian pet owners facing disadvantage or crisis for 10 years, including those experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, mental illness or a medical emergency.
Terra Firma Senior Manager Daniel Shumbusha said the donations had had a huge impact on the residents living with their pets, as they can now focus on feeding themselves when shopping for food.
“They were pretty excited about this,” Daniel said.
“Our clients have felt a sense of relief with not having to worry about where their pet’s next meal will come from. They can now use the little money they have to buy food for themselves, knowing that their pet’s meals are covered.”
As part of the Toward Home Alliance, Terra Firma offers short-term accommodation in Adelaide’s CBD with accompanying support for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The accommodation offers 11 individual rooms, as well as common areas (kitchen, laundry and communal facilities), and houses both singles and couples aged 45 years and over, with a tenure of up to 12 weeks.
For many people experiencing homelessness, having a pet can be a barrier to accessing accommodation. Terra Firma allows its residents to have pets, with other essentials and vet checks provided for these animals if required.
Daniel said the barriers people face are not limited to housing and can extend to other services such as transport. Sometimes people are forced to make the heartbreaking decision of giving up their pets, so any support they can receive helps immensely.
“To some, pets are more than just pets. They are family and companions,” Daniel said.
“It’s really important for accommodation such as Terra Firma to allow owners to stay with their pets, because it’s good for their mental health and it’s what helps them to sometimes stay connected to the community.
“These food deliveries are assisting residents in a big way. It means that residents are no longer thinking twice when purchasing their groceries for the week.”
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