Hoarding Task Force

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The Gaithersburg Hoarding Task Force is a unique coalition of social workers, professional organizers, psychologists, mental health providers and government agency representatives, including Community Services, Code Enforcement, Fire and Rescue and others.

Its mission is twofold. First, the Task Force offers assistance and support to those people and their families who are in need as a result of hoarding behaviors. In working with individuals and their families, the Task Force helps them manage their hoarding and, subsequently, remain safely in their homes. Second, the Task Force strives to educate and inform the community and other professionals about hoarding issues and available resources.

Hoarding is a very complex and far-reaching issue that touches every community across the country. More and more, localities are recognizing the high price associated with hoarding behaviors. Each individual hoarding case requires significant time, patience, skill and expertise, funding, and support. When interventions are haphazard, the conditions invariably return. However, through the collaborative efforts of a Hoarding Task Force, it is possible to create lasting benefits through effective interventions, servicing this population in need and creating a pattern of change within the community at large.

Helpful tips for family, friends and people who hoard:

  • Hoarding is often a chronic behavior. It can be managed, but not “cured.”
  • People who hoard often have a problem with decision making. An effective way to help is to focus on developing this skill.
  • Cleaning and organizing are better left to professionals. They are trained and experienced. It often takes a team approach to succeed.
  • Don’t let the “stuff” take over your life and your relationships. Build positive relationships that have nothing to do with the hoard.
  • Change takes time. Often it must be managed on an ongoing basis.
  • The safety of the person who hoards is most important. Focus on exits, stoves and bathrooms first.