Compulsive Hoarding is a complex and stubborn mental health issue that reaches deep into the health and safety of communities. Its many challenging aspects adversely impact individuals, families, neighborhoods, businesses, and municipalities at multiple intersecting levels. Solutions often require incisive assessments and experienced resolution teams.
The Hoarding Task Forces of Saco and Portland form a collaborative effort of numerous private and state agencies, government services, and community members concerned about the problem of hoarding in Maine. Similar to several such task forces nationwide, these groups have been formed to improve the quality of life for those affected by hoarding through raising public awareness, increasing access to treatment, reducing the gaps in resources, educating service providers, and expanding the limited support options.
The Task Forces meet once every month and maintain a membership of approximately twenty stakeholders.
“Three features define compulsive hoarding: (1) the accumulation and failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to most people to be of limited value, (2) extensive clutter in living spaces that precludes activities for which the rooms were designed, and (3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding (Frost & Hartl).”
"Hoarding often creates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Some people also collect animals, keeping dozens or hundreds of pets often in unsanitary conditions.
People who hoard often don't see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. But intensive treatment can help people who hoard understand their compulsions and live safer, more enjoyable lives (Mayo Clinic)."