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Hoarding support services receives $300k to tackle extreme cases

Dominic Giannini 19 November 2019 20

Extreme cases of hoarding need to be tackled with a holistic approach, say Ministers. Photo: Supplied.

Woden Community Service has received $300,000 to help extreme hoarders, as the ACT Government reinforces its holistic approach to tackling the issue.

The Hoarding Advocacy Support Service (HASS) trial will be extended for another 18-months, focusing on the mental health of people who are unable to break their hoarding habits which often put themselves and neighbours at risk.

The funding announcement comes in light of criticism levelled at laws proposed back in August by Liberal leader Alistair Coe that would have imposed penalties and forced sordid properties to be cleaned up.

There is still a lack of understanding about what causes hoarding and how it should be appropriately tackled, Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

“Hoarding is a challenge, which has many potential causes and no simple solution,” Ms Stephen-Smith says.

“Although there are only a small number of cases of severe hoarding and squalor across the ACT at any given time, it is an issue that has a big impact on the community.”

HASS provides support services for people living with the effects of hoarding by providing counselling, social support and referrals for specialised help.

“Already, ACT Government agencies work closely together through the Hoarding Case Management Group to coordinate their responses to this difficult social issue,” Ms Stephen-Smith says.

“The HASS trial, carried out earlier in the year, used a case management approach to engage with individuals and help to connect them with the support services they need. This funding will provide a more comprehensive evidence base of the impact community-based support services and case management can have in managing the personal and community impacts of hoarding behaviour, given the complexity involved in managing the most severe cases.”

Labor previously withdrew their support in August for a Green-led amendment to establish an advisory council that would have included mental health experts to better understand the issue.

Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury says it is important to recognise and address the underlying mental health issues that lead a person to excessively hoard items to the point where health and safety are compromised.

“As hoarding behaviour often involves underlying mental health issues, just using regulatory action is not the answer. We need to work with people, provide them with the support they need and therefore reducing the impact on the neighbours in the long run,” Mr Rattenbury says.

“That’s why, funding the extension of the HASS will no doubt have a positive impact for those accessing the service, but also the broader community.”

The funding has been welcomed by Chief Executive Officer of the Woden Community Service Jenny Kitchin.

“We commend the government for recognising the importance of a community case management approach in working with people who have significant issues with hoarding,” Ms Kitchin says.

Woden Community Service looks forward to continue working in this complex service area, bringing to it the experience we have gained over a number of years [and] are heartened that the people who have issues with hoarding who we previously worked with, can now be assured of receiving the supports they need for the next 18 months.”

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20 Responses to Hoarding support services receives $300k to tackle extreme cases
Ann Parker Ann Parker 9:51 pm 19 Nov 19

There is a house at the end of our street gotten feel sorry for the neighbours

Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 12:14 am 20 Nov 19

Yes, not much said about the neighbours was there.

Dean O'Brien Dean O'Brien 12:58 pm 20 Nov 19

Bad one on wheeler crescent wanniassa.

    Shane Richards Shane Richards 9:59 pm 20 Nov 19

    Dean O'Brien Yeah it's a shocker...poor neighbours

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:39 pm 20 Nov 19

    One on Goyder St, Narrabundah too. That's been there for years.

    Jennifer Hunt Jennifer Hunt 1:52 am 22 Nov 19

    Yes I live across from the one on Wheeler. The government come every now and then, he cleans a little and then starts rebuilding the mess.

    Claire Perry Claire Perry 9:03 pm 22 Nov 19

    the one opposite the playground, near Mckean place? yup

    Dean O'Brien Dean O'Brien 9:04 pm 22 Nov 19

    Claire Perry yep!! That be the one...

    Shane Richards Shane Richards 9:32 pm 22 Nov 19

    Mate of mine knows him....apparently it's worse inside

Ali Borks Ali Borks 7:18 am 21 Nov 19

Tristan Aitchison hmmmm....

Michael Pelican Loberger Michael Pelican Loberger 1:32 pm 21 Nov 19

Julie Loberger Kate Loberger look we can finally get you guys the help you need

Row Marianne Row Marianne 2:16 pm 22 Nov 19

Caroline can you tell Carli

Tegan Blunden Tegan Blunden 9:55 pm 22 Nov 19

Greg Blunden your mum and dad's neighbour

Rat Vat Rat Vat 12:56 am 23 Nov 19

Good old wazza, no one complains when they need cheap whitegoods parts or repairs from him but

Geoff Fox Geoff Fox 5:56 pm 24 Nov 19

Elena Kusta tag Greta

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