Letter to the Editor | Programs needed to help hoarders

Letter to the Editor | Programs needed to help hoarders

There is a significant lack of affordable resources in Champaign County to address hoarding.

Hoarding disorder is characterized by excessive acquiring and difficulty discarding of clutter or items that affect normal functioning.

Extensive clutter has been associated with significant impairment in daily functioning, interference with basic hygiene and serious physical threat for many elderly individuals.

Hoarding disorder begins in early adolescence and progresses through adulthood, not becoming apparent until later in life.

It is likely that every reader has heard of or has had direct experience with someone who hoards, as it affects 2 to 5 percent of U.S. adults.

Currently, there are good-faith efforts by family members and volunteers to clean out the individual's home to reduce the risk of eviction, bodily injury or death.

However, that can be traumatic due to the emotional attachment individuals have with their belongings.

From my experience working with seniors, I see the need for services. I have witnessed cases when landlords have not tolerated the hoarding, leading to eviction or when individuals are collecting literal garbage in their home.

We need programs to help those who hoard reduce the risk they experience while also respecting their right to live as they please.

In such a resource-rich community as Champaign-Urbana, I believe this is a combatable social problem, and I'd like to see further collaboration between future nonprofits dedicated to the cause and public servants.