Hoarding and Squalor Major Risk In Australia - NFP report
21 February 2012 at 11:28 am
|More than 1 million Australians may be suffering from a hoarding disorder. Photo: supplied.|
More than 1 million Australians may be suffering from a hoarding disorder putting themselves and families at the risk of squalor, fire hazard, eviction and homelessness, according to a NFP report.
Experts from 135 community services, clinical psychology and research organisations in Australia, the UK and US attending a national conference in Sydney are calling for a national, inter-agency response to the complex problems of hoarding and squalor.
Catholic Community Services NSW/ACT says that compulsive hoarding can occur at any age across a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. It affects families, exposing children to health and safety risks, according to a report represented at the conference on hoarding and squalor services in Sydney and regional NSW.
Catholic Community Services NSW/ACT (CCS) has been offering a specialist Hoarding and Squalor service in New South Wales since 2008.
It says it is one of the few agencies that has an integrated approach to the problem and through its work and education programs is now considered to be a leader in the field.
CCS says that although there have been no prevalence studies in Australia to date, similar research in the US, UK and OECD countries indicate that between 400,000 and 1.1 million Australians may be suffering from hoarding disorder and in need of help.
CCS Director Annabel Senior said 60 per cent of CCS clients have been unable to access services from other agencies because the physical environment is regarded as excessively risky and clients’ needs are viewed as too complex for them to
CCS says its program has produced impressive results.
“You need special training to deal with this issue. It can be confronting. It is a labour intensive, long-term effort that needs multi-agency support. We are calling on the Federal and NSW Governments to support us to develop an inter-agency
approach and maximise their support to build an integrated model of care.
“In the short term we need to expand our capacity to provide expert hoarding and squalor services across NSW," Senior said.
Senior said: “In four years we’ve saved more than 400 people from ending up on the street across Sydney and the Newcastle-Hunter region of NSW. Reducing the associated costs incurred as a result of people cycling through homeless, health and disability services is significant.”
The report can be downloaded here (PDF).