A new resource to tackle hoarding and squalor

Caddie and Mim check out our new online resource

Caddie and Mim check out our new online resource

Housing Justice is excited to launch a new website through funding support from Murray Primary Health Network’s Partner’s in Recovery (PIR) program.

Hoarding Resources utilises existing resources on hoarding and squalor and incorporates local service options for the Loddon Mallee region.

Over the past few years there has been an increased awareness of clients that are living in severe domestic squalor and/or hoarding environments. In 2015 Partners in Recovery funded Housing Justice to identify local referral and intervention processes and to develop web-based resources, provide training to mental health and community service workers and provide information sessions to carers.

Hoarding Disorder was recently included in the DSM-5 and “… is characterised by the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of the value others may attribute to these possessions”[1]. Severe domestic squalor is described as “When a person’s home is so unclean, messy, and unhygienic, that people of similar culture and background would consider extensive clearing and cleaning to be essential”[2].

Housing Justice works with public housing tenants at risk of eviction.  In 2013 and 2014 approximately 30% of referrals that came directly from the Office of Housing identified “failure to maintain the property (e.g. hoarding, squalor)” or “poor living skills” as the housing support need. For people living in private rental or their own home there are no hoarding or squalor-specific case-management services.

This PIR Hoarding and Squalor project provided training to 138 workers about hoarding and squalor across the Loddon region. Caddie Russell, the project worker for Housing Justice says “the information sessions to families were really well attended and provided an opportunity for carers to talk about the challenges they face when supporting someone who hoards”. The training and information session material are now available at Hoarding and Squalor Resources in the Loddon Mallee.

This new website aims to help people know where to go for things such as carer support, cleaning services and most importantly mental health services. “There are many local services and agencies that may be involved and working together” says Elise Watts, a member of the Bendigo Hoarding and Squalor Working Group. “Agencies get together regularly to identify how they can support people and avoid hoarding or squalor causing homelessness.”

At this stage there are no specific specialist services that address hoarding and squalor in the Loddon Mallee. “The next step would be greater funding so we can work with individuals and groups who are ready to make a significant change to their situation.” Says Ms Russell.

Housing Justice welcomes inquiries regarding training around hoarding and squalor. People who have already attended our training sessions for Community Workers and Carers and family members of people with a hoarding issue can access our presenter’s presentation slides on the new site’s Training Materials page.

 

 

[1] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- 5th edition. American Psychiatric Association.

[2] Severe Domestic Squalor. John Snowdon, Graeme Halliday, and Sube Benerjee. United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2012

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