Fairfax County Virginia Hoarding Task Force Celebrates 15th Anniversary

July 25, 2013

Long before hoarders and packrats were being exposed on reality television, Fairfax County, Virginia started the first known Hoarding Task Force in the United States in 1998. In celebration of a decade and a half of helping hoarders and their families in the County of Fairfax, hoarding experts Address Our Mess call all Virginians and residents in neighboring states to action.

Virginia Beach, VA (PRWEB) July 25, 2013

In 1998, a fatal fire that claimed the lives of dwellers squatting in a heavily hoarded vacant property prompted Fairfax County officials in Virginia to put an end to hoarders’ cries for help that once fell on deaf ears.

The Fairfax County Virginia Hoarding Task Force is celebrating its 15th Anniversary in 2013, according to the county’s official website. The task force was formed to combine, “the resources of county agencies to provide a coordinated response to residential hoarding when it threatens life, safety, and property.”

The county agencies included in the task force are the Department of Code Compliance, Adult and Child Protective Services, the Police and Sheriff’s Departments, Animal Services, Fire and Rescue Departments, the Health Department, the Office of Public Affairs, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and several others.

The inclusion of so many agencies ranging drastically in specialty and concentration proves how hoarding can affect so many aspects of a person’s life as well as the community in which they live. According to Address Our Mess, an industry leading hoarding cleaning service provider, the hoarding condition can have negative effects on a person physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially.

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) recently updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (version five) has gone into great detail – amidst much controversy – of displaying how hoarding can be a crippling and debilitating mental and emotional vice. Depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder are all linked to the hoarding condition. Now, thanks to the input of hoarding experts across the country, the APA has provided an opportunity for those in the mental health community to assist sufferers of the condition with more research and guidance than in years past.

One of the most frequently asked questions about hoarding is, “How can the condition affect a person physically?” One of the more obvious answers is the diseases and illness hoarded items can attract to a home. Hoarders tend to keep spoiled food, soiled dishes and laundry, and empty containers, boxes, and wrappers instead of throwing them in the garbage. Each of these items could potentially lure insects, rodents, and wild animals into a home. These creatures carry a variety of viruses, bacteria, and diseases that could prove fatal to a hoarder or their family.

Another physical hazard hoarding causes is entrapment. Address Our Mess Virginia Hoarding Experts have recently uncovered a rash of cases where residents were either injured or found deceased beneath collapsed mounds of clutter and debris. Hoarders tend to stack a variety of objects on top of one another, leaving only narrow paths to move around the home. When these stacks and mounds give way, hoarders – or their pets – may be trapped underneath. Depending on the severity of the fall and the weight of the debris, those trapped below could very well lose their lives.

A danger that poses an immediate physical threat as well as a blight on the community are the structural damages hidden amongst the clutter. When a home becomes hoarded beyond control, basic repairs and maintenance go unnoticed and unmanaged. Over time, these minor repairs can turn into major catastrophe. Address Our Mess technicians have encountered many cases where homes have collapsed in on themselves, or worse, on an adjacent property. The danger to neighboring homes and families should be enough to allow a hoarder to hear the call of action.

Communities around the country have followed the lead of Fairfax County, Virginia since 1998. Task Force Agencies have been established from coast to coast, bringing together keen minds as well as former and current sufferers of the condition. Address Our Mess urges hoarders, as well as their families and friends, to seek the assistance of a local task force as well as a reputable clutter cleaning service provider. As stated in Fairfax County’s Hoarding Task Force Annual Report, “an overall population growth and an aging residency (has) marked an increase in the hoarding phenomenon. The formation of a multi-agency task force allows for consolidated resources and ensures an integrated approach to the physical, emotional, health, and safety issues associated with hoarding.”

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10962182.htm

Source: prweb

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