As a follow-up to my blog post from last year at this time, I am thrilled to report that the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force (PHTF) is in its second year and making headway.
In 2013, the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force a coalition of organizations dedicated to increasing access to services for people with hoarding behavior, created a bold mission:
“To improve outcomes for people who hoard and reduce the catastrophic consequences related to hoarding for residents of the City of Philadelphia.”
An ambitious undertaking to say the least!
In its first year, PHTF had four major accomplishments:
1. Resource Guide – This guide offers immediate and non-immediate resources that may help a person with hoarding behaviors live a safer, healthier life. It can also be used by organizations that have clients who have hoarding behaviors. Please click the link for further details Resource Guide.
2. Helplines – Assist those with questions regarding hoarding-related issues in the Philadelphia area.
Under 60 years of age: 215-751-1800
60 years of age and above: 215-545-5728
4. Educational Workshops – “Introduction to Hoarding Workshop”
This workshop is presented by one of PHTF’s Education Committee members and is offered free of charge to the public. These workshops are listed on the website.
Arrangements can be made to have an “Introduction to Hoarding Workshop” done for a specific group or organization that serves the Philadelphia community. Email PHTF at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Standing on the accomplishments of 2014, the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force is working to expand its services to include case management, support groups, therapy and cleaning services. The 2015 goals for PHTF are to:
- Increase Community Outreach – by introducing individuals and agencies to the task force (website; flyers; etc).
- Increase Training Opportunities – by educating people about hoarding behavior and interventions.
- Expand Resources – by coordinating and bringing new interventions to Philadelphia. Applying for the Bader Foundation Grant to make Philadelphia a Hoarding Case Management replication site with technical assistance from the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, a program that has shown much success with those with hoarding behavior.
A statistic listed on the PHTF website notes that individuals with hoarding behaviors account for two to five percent of the population—an estimated 23,600 to 59,000 adults in Philadelphia. These numbers are alarming and reveal the need to address this issue individually and as a community.
The approach of the PHTF is based on three key principles:
1. To focus on the person, not the problem or the items they hoard. At the heart of their work is an awareness that behind every hoarded home is a person who needs help, not judgment. They require patience and respect from everyone involved.
2. Since there can be serious consequences for people who hoard because hoarding can be a serious hazard, PHTF advocates solutions that will help resolve emergency issues while also providing support over time.
3. PHTF seeks a balance between the rights of the individual to live as they choose with the needs of the community. PHTF believes that hoarding goes from being an individual struggle to a community problem when it threatens health, safety and livability for those living in a hoarded home, their neighbors, and also the service providers, contractors, and emergency responders entering a hoarded home.
In short, PHTF works to provide individuals and organizations in the region with the tools they need to successfully overcome the challenges associated with hoarding behavior and the public safety hazards that may result.
May the ‘Force’ be with the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force again this year as it continues to make headway through these uncharted waters!