The Shalom House Hoarding Program was created more than ten years ago to meet a growing need for a vastly underserved population at high risk of homelessness. After an initial small sized survey of two publicly funded Shalom housing units found that 25% of the tenants struggled with hoarding, it was discovered that no services were offered in Maine that specifically targeted the complicated causes and symptoms of this mental health disorder.
A trial support group was formed and its members identified the services that would help them maintain housing. Gradually, this small group expanded to other support groups in Portland and Saco. We then started hosting nationally acclaimed speakers to educate professionals throughout southern Maine which led to the development of hoarding task forces in Portland and Sanford.
These task forces, with people who hoard as key contributing members, helped Shalom House create multiple programs.
In-home health and safety assessments In-home support for decluttering and item removal Hoarding 101 presentations
Trained in-home volunteers Support Groups Peer Clutter Buddies Occupational therapy student interns from the University of Southern Maine Social work student interns from USM Community building to combat chronic loneliness
The success of our program, and the reduction in our members' eviction rates and homelessness, quickly spread by word of mouth and led to the program’s expansion to people throughout Cumberland and York counties.
Our hoarding specialist, Eric Grainger, worked with over 400 individuals and families, facilitated over 250 support group meetings, helped train hundreds of agency's personnel, presented over a hundred Hoarding 101 trainings, and was a guest lecturer at the University of Southern Maine, the University of New England, and Kennebec Valley Community College.