Gamelles Pleines : Helping Homeless people with and through theirs Pets

We help homeless pet's owner to feed, care & keep their pet and get all benefits of pet's ownership for a successfull social reintegration.

Photo of Yohann
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible
  • Yes, I’m 18 years old or older

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Yohann SEVERE, founder and president

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • France

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?

We are actually having social impacts in 12 cities in France (Caen, Rennes, Quimper, Montpellier, Lyon, Toulouse, Montauban, Strasbourg, Macon, Grenoble, Dreux and Paris). Our charity is expanding very fast as it is necessary to do it everywhere, we are already implementing and trainind new groups to help homeless owners in 4 others cities within the first semester 2020.

Website or social media url(s)

Date Started


Focus Areas

  • Re-imagining the role of pets in society
  • Enhance Pet-human bond's benefits in socialcare to encourage inclusion

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €50k - €100k

Organisation Type

  • nonprofit/NGO: an organisation that uses its resources to achieve a purpose outside of creating profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

Winter 2008, Teddy was homeless and had a dog "Louna". He came to food distribution to get something to eat and met with Yohann SEVERE. First thing Teddy did, was sharing his only meal of the day with Louna, who was as hungry as him. Nobody paid attention to Louna and how important was their relashionship to face the hardness of living in a street, except Yohann SEVERE. Teddy explained him that he had to care for both of them and social network just offer help exclusively to him. Homeless shelters were closed to dogs, food were just for humans, no healthcare and solutions for helping pet's owner... He felt misunderstood ! Instead of being a solution to reintegrate homeless people, pet's ownership is sawn as a problem: We aim to change this!

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Homeless Pet’s Ownership is a societal problem that social workers are misunderstanding and avoiding. Pets are psychological and physical support for homeless people, but pet’s ownership is sawn as a source of exclusion and marginalisation. About 25% of homeless people own pets and are not allowed in shelters or hospitals. They can’t find help to succeed their reintegration. The human-pets bond should be considered as a key to inclusion!

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We focus on benefits of Pets ownership to help homeless people to lead a second chance in life: empathy, social link, responsibility, safety, warmness, self-motivation, psychological support ... we are helping homeless owners within 7 points to create an impact for themselves: 1) Encourage shelters and social worker to adopt pet friendly policies and change their perception toward the benefits of the pet-human bond 2) Marauder, e.g keep in contact constantly with them, bring what they needs weekly (food, material, essentials …) and listening to their needs. Provide a permanent support to make day life easier to support 3) Pet’s healthcare: providing vet care to every pets (check-ups, preventative treatments, emergency …) 4) Taking care of pets as long as the homeless need it to (hospital, job interview, doctor meeting, detox cure ...) 5) Valuing and increase self-confidence with pets to encourage inclusion progress 6) Raise society awareness and fight hostile prejudices toward street pet’s owners 7) Provide active support for mourning (for both pet/owner) The pet-human bond is a precious raw material that we use as a benefit of inclusion and for a positive recognition.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Homeless Pets ‘ownership is sawn as a problem by social worker. We see it as a solution! We use the pet-human bond as a benefit of inclusion and give them the recognition that they are responsible for another life and they can be as successful with their own. Pets are a source of motivation, a way to understand them, to encourage homeless people to socialize and cure their addictions, to fight for their living, to give a sense to society and life... Street people tend to turn themselves toward “pets humanity” when facing long-term homelessness and exclusion. Thus, taking the pet into consideration in the social care network is just an evidence. This new approach allows to reach the most marginalized and isolated persons and help them.

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

Our project harness the pet-human bond as it is the fundamental of everything we do. We purpose overall to keep homeless people and their pets together. Homeless pet ownership provides companionship, unconditional love, responsibility, security, motivation of living. Moreover Homeless pet’s ownership contribute to overcome serious societal issues such as isolation, alcohol and drug consumption, violence, homeless women abuse and suicide. Owning dog in streets has been clearly linked to reduce criminal activities, increase quality of sleep and decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Our project give homeless pet owners ability to access social services, attend medical appointments that allow them to start rebuilding and leading a second chance in life. Not only healthy pets in streets contribute to increase physical and mental health of the owners, but also to reduce epidemic expansion. Dog's identification and sterilisation contribute to reduce abandonment and facilitate dog’s shelter work. We contribute to overcome numerous societal issues: not only homelessness but also loneliness, suicide, abuse and depression. The pet-human bond gives hope for a better forthcoming.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Like the butterfly effect, each little thing has a hugh impact for each person helped. As we are helping homeless pet’s owner for 11 years, we can measure impact on a long term on their life and for the society. Homeless people cost 15 000€ per year to the society, even more with a mental disorder, increased by 10 with homelessness. Reducing homelessness and exclusion has thus an important impact. The social network has radically changed in the cities where we are implemented as we changed the perception of social workers toward the benefits of the pet-human bond. Finally numbers of isolated homeless has decreased. Nowadays, we help more than 1000 homeless pairs every year in 12 cities with more than 150 volunteers providing 2000hrs/month work. We helped 50 shelters to become pet friendly for the past years. Adele was junky, depressive and excluded. She is now clean, has a home and a job

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

To expand the activity, we developed a charity franchising system. We think global and act local! We provide methodology, training, coaching, financial and admin. support to each group of volunteer in France. Thus, we set up nationally an efficient system of work and a trustworthy environment for partners. We also developed our online tools to increase quality and facilitate communication between volunteers. Employment could provide fulltime support and training sessions for both volunteers and social workers. Finally, we plan to open a pet-hostel to help their owner according to their needs.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

Precarious people with their pet are the main stakeholders of the project. Pets benefit of better living conditions and healthcare, when homeless owners can lead a second chance to rebuild themselves: access to shelters and social network, decrease isolation, improve self-confidence and mental health, reduce alcohol and drugs abuse, and finally find home, job …Less untracked animals in the streets benefit to public authorities: less public health problem, more security, better place of the dog in society, a sense of community, reducing homelessness and associated cost. Finally partners and volunteers are also taking benefits of their implication, especially on self-confidence, personal skills and achievements and a rewarding social image.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

We are funding our project with philanthropy and donations from individuals and pet industry, who benefit of a tax reduction. We plan to become a Recognized Public Utility Association, which would give a trustworthy climate and keep donation program alive. Costs stay low due to our voluntary nature and client’s participation in vet care as a vector of dignity. To improve sustainability, we diversified incomes with the edition of a high quality art calendar. This product represents 30% of our incomes. In long term, the sustainability could be reach by sales of professional training session to social workers. M Descroix-Vernier, our patron, helps us to move from a NGO structure to financial stability. Purina Award 'd support first employment

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

As non-profit association, GP is leaded by a disinterested board composed by 8 volunteers, including President, Secretary and Treasurer. In our pyramidal system, each association has an independent board to act locally with volunteers. Local associations benefit of national talents and skills to support them such as webmaster, infographics, lawyer, developers, Experts, Psychologist, trainers… C.Célibert & L.Barlerin are patrons. We plan to employ someone to develop resources & scale the project.

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

This award would give recognition to our project and have an impact on all social workers. We want to bring about a change in homelessness services by taking the pet-human bond into consideration to really help homeless pet's owner! Understanding the pet-human bond is an efficient way to reach lonesome persons and bring them out of exclusion. Charities for homelessness are numerous, we hope to keep influencing them to change in a pet friendly way, as we are doing for 11 years and keeping scaling to other cities. We would like to encourage all initiatives that would enhance the homeless pets bonds in other countries too, with coaching and conferences. With homeless, pets are sometime more "human being" than people !

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Laetitia Barlerin and Carine Célibert

13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.

5 years ago, we met with Adele, 19 years old. She became homeless to flee an abusive family at the age of 16. She has 2 dogs (Apache and Kitha). When we met her, Adele was alcoholic, junky, depressive, abused and completely excluded and isolated, sleeping in a dangerous squat. Not only her 2 dogs were her very last link to society, but also source of deep exclusion... couple of week later, Apache got seriously wounded by firearm. Adele trust us and contact us! We thus helped her first to save her son’s life, and then start over a long process of inclusion with social workers. Successively, she was admitted in a shelter, updated her healthcare papers, cured her addictions, found a home, got her driving licence, found a job and bought a truck to fulfil her dream to go to live in mountains with her dogs. She finally rebuilt a new life and a new relation with her family that she now meet frequently… if you cross Adele today with her dogs, you can't even imagine what she has been thought!

14. Mutual Benefit: Explain how your project mutually benefits the pets involved – how is the pet not only used as tool?

Our project first benefits to pets involved as we provide directly food, healthcare and essentials to them. Thanks to preventative treatments, regular check-ups, sterilization, advises and emergency cares, we definitively increase the quality of living for those animals and their expectation of living. Moreover, saddlery that we provide improve their comfort and avoid injuries from street risks (getting lost, wounded by fight or a car...). Also, we often work with dogs trainers in order to give homeless individuals all the knowledge and tools for a better living together with their pet, especially during the inclusion phase, which is difficult for pets. Despite preconceptions, animal abuse is not common for homeless pet's owner. In case of misbehaviours, we are able to interact rapidly either to help the disadvantaged owner to change, understand and improve himself, either to find a durable solution such as adoption for the mutual benefit. We met such situation only once in 12 years.

15. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?

In 2008, when the idea has been set up and developed, the main project developed toward homeless owners was “la peniche St Michel” in Paris. A shelter on a boat dedicated to welcome homeless pet’s owner. Despite it is small and not well adapted, this place is worth existing. Couple of years later we saw some initiatives in other cities in France, such as • “Les croquettes du coeur” (2010) Lyon. Only petfood oriented. • “Les Babines de l’espoir” (2016) Nantes. This initiative is more “Pets oriented” instead of owner’s inclusion. • “Solidarité 4 pattes” (2017) Rouen. This initiative is local, but doesn’t differ a lot. • “Le dispensaire vétérinaire Etudiant” Lyon. More vetcare oriented and depending on student’s life cycle (exams, holidays, …). We are working together in Lyon in order to enhance impact for homeless people. • “Les croquettes de Sawyer”(2019) Macon, they finally joined our project and renamed “Gamelles Pleines Macon” in 2020 and benefit of brand and strong supports.

16. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project.

Partnerships and collaboration are essentials for us to enhance the impact for all stakeholders. Indeed, alone we go faster, together we go further! We collaborate with social workers, pets industries, vets, NGO’s…Here are some example of collaborations: 1) Dispensaire Veterinaire Etudiant in Lyon : We already collaborate together to enhance impacts for homeless owners and their pets, and also to improve the scalability of the project. Indeed, vet students are the vets with whom we may work in the future in all France. It’s thus important to make them aware. 2)Foundation Abbe Pierre: We are actually trying to develop a partnership with this foundation in order to enhance the impact on homeless shelters to change and welcome homeless individuals with theirs pets. 3) ICAD : In May 2020, a common communication and project will be set up with the ICAD (National Pet Identification Center) in order to increase population awareness on pets identification and solidarity toward street owners.

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

AWARD 2019 - GP Toulouse - 8000€ - Fondation banque populaire AWARD 2018 - GP CAEN - 3000€ "J'aime mon asso" Crédit Agricole RECOGNITION 2018 - GP FRANCE - "Royal Canin" during its 50th anniversary AWARD 2018 - GP RENNES - 1500€ Fondation SNCF AWARD 2011 - GP QUIMPER - "Coup de Pouce" TROPHEE de CORNOUAILLES AWARD 2011 - GP CAEN - 3e prix de l'innovation sociale AG2R

18. Your Self-Elevator Pitch (OPTIONAL): Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

You can upload the video with the following link :

19. Financial Sustainability (OPTIONAL): Please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project, include an attached document with your detailed business plan or other equivalent information. (This information will NOT be shared with your fellow contestant, it will only be visible to you and internal Prize reviewers).

66% of our incomes is allocated to help concretly homeless people, through vetscare, dogstraining, pension, petfood, essentials... 9% is allocated to operating expenses and 25% is invested in order to sustain and scale our project, such as developping and selling nationally art calendars and goodies, or developping new communication tools for each association to increase their visibilty and quality of communication and thus motivate private donations. Becoming reconized "Pubic utility organisation" is thus a key point in our developpment this year. We will soon think about employment in order to sustain durably all this. At this point, we will start thinking on public support to afford salaries as we are creating a real impact on society. And finally, we are thinking to sell professional training sessions and consulting services to public services, social services, shelters, socialworker schools. As example : pet's impacts, key points to welcome pets, Pets to reach social understanding

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 16.7%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 66.7%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Does this entry have potential to GROW & demonstrate LEADERSHIP?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 66.7%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

5. Is this entry VIABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 33.3%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 16.7%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

7. FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions or used an old model in a new way - 60%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 100%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 40%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 20%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 20%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 20%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 0%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 0%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 50%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: Your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon - 50%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 50%

Other option - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shinchan Nohara

Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man,Keep it up.

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