Monday, May 24, 2010

APS Spearheads Hoarding Task Force

Monica Balderrama

Dozens of people in the El Paso community suffer from a dangerous, sometimes even deadly, form of self-neglect.

That's why a new task force was formed in the hopes to help people or families who are hoarders.

This year, hoarding contributed to the death of an elderly woman in Northeast El Paso.

On Feb. 23, a fire erupted inside her home. The accumulation of stuff inside prevented her from getting out and hurt rescue efforts by firefighters. This case is only one of many that urged Adult Protective Services officials to form a task force.

Currently, Adult Protective Services is working on five hoarding cases in El Paso, but experts say this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Felix Cabrera, APS Resource and External Relations Specialist, showed KFOX a few pictures taken inside a hoarder's house. By definition, hoarding is the excessive collection of things along with the inability to get rid of them. In all hoarding cases, a person's safety is compromised.

The hoarding task force began in March, a month after that elderly woman's death.

It includes representatives from other departments and agencies like police and code enforcement. But experts say they need the communiti's help as well..." More

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