Hope Project - Helping Homeless Dogs & Owners


Dogs Trust Hope Project helps dog owners who are homeless or in housing crisis, providing advice as well as free and subsidised veterinary care for their dogs.

Today the scheme celebrates 20 years of giving hope to the homeless and their dogs. In the last 20 years the Hope project has transformed the lives thousands of homeless dog owners growing from just one clinic to over 100 vital services throughout the UK.

Dogs Trust Hope Project

With the issue of homelessness taking centre stage at party conferences this month, and the Labour Party citing solving the housing crisis as their "top priority", the service which operates throughout the UK is as relevant and as valuable to the people it serves as ever. It is estimated there are 2,744 rough sleepers in the UK and many are accompanied by a pet dog.

When the Project launched in 1995 there wasn’t a single dog friendly hostel in the UK and there was just one veterinary clinic run by the Hope Project to support dogs and their owners.

Now, in just twenty years, the project offers an invaluable service in 107 towns and cities across the UK, working with local vets and homelessness organisations, and last year funded over 1,700 veterinary treatments to help dogs remain with their devoted owners. Thanks to work of the project, there are now 157 dog friendly hostels nationwide.

Help with veterinary costs

The Hope Project offers free and subsidised veterinary care for dogs whose owners are homeless.

Dogs Trust Hope ProjectIf you are a homelessness organisation in one of the areas where the scheme currently runs, you can make online applications for your clients and their dogs.

Dog owners can apply to the Hope Project Veterinary Scheme through a participating homelessness organisation in any of the scheme areas. Please ask your local homelessness organisation if they take part in the scheme.

If you are not in touch with any of the organisations that participate in the scheme, you can apply directly. You will need to provide proof from a recognised homelessness organisation or your local authority that you are homeless or in temporary housing.

Help with finding accommodation

Sadly most accommodation providers in the UK still operate a ‘no dogs’ policy meaning that homeless dog owners are denied access to the shelter and support they so desperately need, simply because they have a dog. The Hope Project works with hostels and housing providers to encourage them to accept people with dogs.

Welcoming dogs in hostels

Dogs Trust has been supporting dog owners who are homeless or in housing crisis for almost 20 years. One of their biggest concerns has always been the number of hostels that do not accept dogs. Currently only 9% of hostels in the UK are dog-friendly.

Dogs Trust offers free advice and support to hostels and housing providers to help them see the benefits of accepting dogs and to begin accepting dogs.

Hope Project resources

Hope Project has a range of resources to help dog owners and housing providers. Veterinary scheme resources includes a number of leaflets, fact sheets and booklets on topics from general dog healthcare to veterinary schemes. Welcoming dogs resources includes leaflets and sample forms for hostels and housing providers.

Find out more about the Dogs Trust Hope Project.

Moving on

One of the biggest challenges of accepting dogs in hostels can be helping the owner and dog to move on to more permanent accommodation. It can take some time to help dog owners find a pet-friendly landlord or housing provider.

Dogs Trust runs a Lets with Pets scheme to help pet owners find privately rented accommodation with their pets.

Dogs Trust Hope ProjectChristmas parcel service

Fifteen years ago the project also developed a Christmas parcel service for those who are homeless over the festive season, delivering essential supplies to 100 dogs in its first year. This Christmas the project will provide parcels to over 1,200 dogs nationwide.

Why this matters

67% of rough sleepers said they were still living on the streets because they couldn’t find accommodation with their dog. Almost two thirds of people have been asked to give up their dog in order to get into accommodation.

Clare Kivlehan, Hope Project Manager, says "With 82% of homeless people saying that their dog is their best friend, we are proud to have provided essential and life-saving veterinary care to so many dogs over the past 20 years. However, with two thirds of homeless dog owners being asked to give up their dogs in order to find accommodation we know there is still much to be done and we hope our services continue to help as many homeless people and their dogs as possible over the next 20 years."


Dogs Trust is funded solely by public generosity. If you would like to support the work of Dogs Trust, please make a donation to Dogs Trust today.

If you would like your donation to go specifically towards the work of the Hope Project, please call the Dogs Trust Customer Services team on 020 7837 0006 and they will be happy to assist you.

Find out more

Hope Project dogstrusthopeproject.org.uk
Lets with Pets letswithpets.org.uk

Christy Ragsdale
19 January 2016  |  10:19

I love what you do

Mariela Fenton
11 June 2016  |  22:40

Dear SR Madan today on my way to work I was talking to homeless man and his dog it breaks my heart. Any help for people like this ? The police want to take his dog away from him I can see this poor man love his dog any Imformation so we can help people like this

21 August 2016  |  8:00

i am homeless in birmingham with my dog after falling out with partner, does any1 know who cn help us. its breakin me to ask as im at rock bottom, however the only way is up from the bottom so jst need a helping hand. fanx 4 any advise offered

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:11

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Adam Hughes
17 April 2017  |  13:31

i am a birmingham homeless 45 year old man with pet dog ,please can you tell me if there is any comadation for me and my dog any were in birmingham

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:11

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Michael and Lola
14 August 2017  |  14:05

I'm Michael aged 29 homeless with my French bulldog she has hives and a large red lump on her chest I'm worried sick . I'm homeless with no money . I'm worried for my dog as I don't qualify for PDSA Help as I don't get housing bennifit . what can I do my dog needs treatment and help asap ... I have no one . if I lose my dog iv lost everything and I don't think I'd cope without Lola in my life . iv lost to Much all ready

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:11

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Sarah Longden
02 February 2018  |  5:02

I am homeless on streets with a dog every time me and my boyfriend falls out all he dose to get back at me he emotionally blackmailing me by using my dog as a weapon just to get to me because he knows no one can put us both up and my dog is sick and tired never mind me but he must be I see it in him it's not fair at all on him but I will not go without my dog iv been homeless for years ever since me and my previous boyfriend farther of our child split so I need my own place PLEASE HELP AND SUPPORT ME AND MY DOG I WON'T LEAVE HIM SO IT'S FOR BOTH ME AND MY DOG

28 March 2018  |  19:26

The dog's trust also run another project called the freedom project. It's specifically designed for people & their dogs in your situation. They provide foster care for your dog if you can't get shelter in a dog friendly place straight away. Here's a link. xX http://www.moretodogstrust.org.uk/about-freedom/about-freedom

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:10

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Mrs Margaret Nash
26 February 2018  |  15:38

I make warm dog coats ..do you know any homeless people who need coats for their dogs I can make some and send them to you ...

D for Dog
26 February 2018  |  16:21

What a lovely offer. It is best to contact Dogs Trust directly please :-)

20 August 2018  |  22:57

I know someone who is homeless and has a dog. I would imagine he would be very grateful for one

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:10

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Robert Pountney
29 April 2018  |  11:58

Where will i go when i become homless with my two dogs,im a pensioner and finding i cant live on my pension any longer.iv been sell my belongings,thank you for any advice,robert.

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:10

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

21 November 2018  |  20:19

Are you looking for foster homes to help with these dogs whilst their owners are finding permanent homes?

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:09

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Louise Jones
03 January 2020  |  0:09

My son , fostered a Sharpe dog from the dogs trust , but my son has been beaten up , bye a neighbour over arguing about dog pooh , on the street , now my son , is too scared to go back to his flat , I live in a 1 bedroom flat, I've no spare room , I am not well , is there any chance the dogs trust can help , my son and his dog ,thank you

D for Dog
03 January 2020  |  9:09

Please contact Dogs Trust directly as they run the scheme.

Richard Burdett
15 September 2021  |  22:34

I've just become homeless as my partner wants me to leave I have my dog who is 4 months old I have some health problems needing operations . Looking to find somewhere to live in Kettering Northamptonshire. Who can help me?

Kelle Moore
09 January 2023  |  14:18

Hi I am recently homeless with my kids and our 8 month old doberman we have to move to a hostel but can't take our baby can u please help inlive in blackpool

Emma Whitworth
24 May 2023  |  17:08

Hi, I am currently living in a caravan on my grandparents drive way with my cat and dog Iv been here a month but I'm needing to find somewhere of my asap. Is there any help I can get please? I'm in Sheffield.
Thank you

Sky Haslam
26 September 2023  |  10:00

Hi Iím 19 years old and just recently become homeless with my dog I have no where for him to go I have places I can go but they donít except dogs and I donít want to give him up I love him to much