Hoarders and Hoarding
What Is Hoarding Disorder?
Hoarding is when an individual is unable to use the rooms in their home for their intended purpose. This is usually triggered by things such as:
- Chronic disorganisation
- Long term illness
- Empty nest
- Childhood issues
What Impact Does Hoarding Have?
Families suffer when their basic needs are not addressed through the loss of functionality within the home and families are prevented from carrying out activities caused by hoarding, such as:
- Use of bathroom including toilet, sink and bath/shower.
- Use of kitchens, such as limited kitchen surface, oven, refrigerator, and table.
- Restricted living space to sleep, eat and relax impacts greatly on family life.
- Nowhere to wash clothing, bedding, and towels.
- Living conditions – loss of heating, structural damage, loss of water.
- Hygiene suffers massively which has to knock-on effects with children at school and bullying as well as self-esteem issues.
- Structural damage, blocked exits, fire hazards, damp, mildew, and mould.
- Impact on health- dust and damp contribute greatly to respiratory conditions.
- Fire safety needs are not being met.
- Repairs in the house are not able to be carried out.
What’s the Difference between Hoarding and Collecting?
Many people collect items such as books or stamps, and this is not considered a problem. The difference between a ‘hoard’ and a ‘collection’ is how these items are organised. A collection is usually well ordered, and the items are easily accessible, a hoard is usually much disorganised and takes up a lot of room.
What You Can Do If You Suspect Someone Is Hoarding?
If you think a family member or someone you know has a hoarding disorder, try to persuade them to come with you to see a GP.
This may not be easy, as someone who hoards might not think they need help, try to be sensitive about the issue and emphasize your concerns for their health and wellbeing.
Your GP may be able to refer you to your local community mental health team, which might have a therapist who's familiar with issues such as OCD and hoarding.
It's generally not a good idea to get extra storage space or call in the council or environmental health to clear the rubbish away, this won't solve the problem and the clutter often quickly builds up again.
- You can find out more about hoarding from NHS Choices.
- London Fire Brigade has tips for hoarders on how to reduce the risk of fire, as hoarding greatly increases the risk of fire.
- Help for Hoarders has information and resources about hoarding
HoardingUK is an organisation committed to increasing choice and control for people who compulsively hoard while ensuring the professionals are empowered to provide appropriate and effective intervention.
How to Contact Us
The council can only get involved if the hoarder's house is attracting pests or if the property is causing a statutory nuisance.
To report this please contact:
Telephone ~ 0208 547 5000
Email ~ [email protected]