This makes PATH a unique homeless service provider. Los Angeles is known as the the country's homeless capital, and for all its 58,000 residents who are homeless on any given night, PATH is the only shelter in the county with an adjoining kennel space. The kennel has a capacity for 10 animals. Although the number of homeless human-animal families is unknown, it is probably safe to surmise that providing kennels for 10 is insufficient compared to the need. But for those 10 human-animal families who do get a chance to access the shelter, it is a welcome relief.
As research shows, homeless individuals with animals are not only denied access to shelter but also to soup kitchens, community medical clinics, and other basic homeless services. Despite these hardships, many of these animal guardians would not dream of separating from their companion. In fact, their animal's well being often comes before their own. As researcher Dr. Leslie Irvine found in her qualitative interviews with homeless animal guardians, "My dog always eats first" was a common phrase uttered by such individuals. Common enough for Irvine to use it as the title of her book which compiles these stories of hardship and redemption.