San Francisco health workers offer help to hoarders

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article highlights a program that the city of San Francisco’s Department of Aging and Adult Services and the nonprofit Mental Health Association of San Francisco have created. They have teamed up to create the Institute on Hoarding and Cluttering. The program will help local hoarders deal with all aspects of their obsessive behavior.

From the article:

Nationally, an estimated 1 million to 2 million people are compulsive hoarders. And while statistics aren’t available for just how many people in San Francisco suffer from the condition, experts say the city has become the center for study of the problem and might have more hoarders per capita than other areas.

The compact, expensive city has many SRO hotels and other small living spaces as well as an aging population that has had years to collect clutter. Dementia also can contribute to hoarding.

The nonprofit Mental Health Association of San Francisco and the city’s Department of Aging and Adult Services have teamed up to create the Institute on Hoarding and Cluttering. That group conducts training of professionals such as nurses and in-home care providers, and last summer officials launched an effort to enhance communication among city agencies that work with hoarders.

The association sees about 250 new hoarding patients a year and runs a support group for them. The Department of Public Health has two inspectors, including Oblena, who visit SRO hotels that are run by nonprofits contracted by the city to provide housing.

If you or someone you know struggles with compulsive hoarding, try and get help from the following resources:

For those of you in the San Francisco area, there will be a 16-week hoarding and cluttering treatment group that will be held starting Monday, April 28, 2008.

3 Comments for “San Francisco health workers offer help to hoarders”

  1. posted by Kate Saltfleet on

    I do genuinely believe that these behaviours are an illness for some people – my partner is a second generation hoarder, and he does try to get rid of stuff but there is a sort of paralysis of fear with throwing things away, like the pile of newspapers from 1996 which can’t be binned until he’s read them all cover to cover.

    I wish we had some sort of support group like that here.

  2. posted by Cynthia on

    Wow, I didn’t realize that hoarding was an illness, but I’m glad that there is a support group out there. Now, how do you get someone who doesn’t think he (ie. my husband) has a problem to go to one of these group meetings. He has the most problem giving things away that his son has grown out of or doesn’t play with anymore. I understand keeping some things to cheerish, but is it necessary to keep all the socks he has worn since he was born. He also thinks he needs to keep a lot of the things that belonged to him and his ex wife so that he can give his son once he grows up. I don’t mind keeping some of it, but it’s a lot to keep and store. I’m not innocent myself, but I’m trying to declutter our home.

  3. posted by Ricky on

    I wanted to share a couple recent Hoarding news items:

    - Segment on the Today Show: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21.....8#32414778

    - A new TV show on A&E called “Hoarders”, starting this Monday 8/17 at 10pm: http://www.aetv.com/hoarders/ (site has preview videos)

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