Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of domestic violence residential shelter services in the U.S., opened Brighter Days, a seven-story, pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in Queens.
Brighter Days offers 62 apartments, as well as comprehensive programs and services. This is the first domestic violence shelter to allow pets in all of Queens.
The space, which is supported by a $65,000 grant from the Banfield Foundation, will soon break ground on an outdoor pet park at the site. The pet park — expected to open in late 2022 — will offer outdoor space for adults, children and pets to play and relax while in the safety of the Brighter Days residence.
URI wanted to be able to accommodate pets after recognizing the important role they play in domestic violence situations. Since few shelters allow pets, survivors often must choose between their pets and safety. Also, a large majority of survivors report that their animals provide emotional support after an abusive relationship, helping them heal.
“The need to break barriers to safety and address the risk factors of domestic violence is critical, and it takes a multi-stakeholder approach to drive meaningful change and save lives,” stated Nathaniel M. Fields, CEO of Urban Resource Institute.
URI has been a leader since 1980, delivering shelters and services for decades. Fields said that he is proud to open Brighter Days as they approach the 10th anniversary of the People and Animals Living Safely program next year.
“It is only through the partnership of government agencies, elected officials, advocates, companies, foundations, dedicated individuals and service providers like URI that we can make lasting systemic change,” Fields said. “The individuals gathered today at Brighter Days represent this cross-functional approach and we are proud to celebrate with them.”
Brighter Days has the capacity to serve 167 adults and children at any time. All 62 units are fully furnished, stocked with all supplies needed for families and pets, with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a dishwasher and hardwood floors.
The lower floors include shared spaces for meetings, group therapy and educational workshops and indoor recreation. There is also access to computers for children to complete homework and a childcare playroom with toys and games.
Brighter Days will also have case management, crisis counseling, safety planning, education and support groups, child care, permanent housing placement, referrals, legal support and economic empowerment services to lead them to “brighter days.”
The location of the center is confidential to protect those that reside there.