Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homes of hoarders raising concerns of Arizona agencies

by D.S. Woodfill

Home residents of the Surprise Farms community were at their wit's end.

Dana Rosenbaum, a resident and secretary of the homeowners association, said they repeatedly complained to city officials about a resident in the community who was stockpiling what they considered to be junk in his yard. It included old cars, tires, motorcycle parts and unused fencing. Odd smells also began emanated from the property. Neighbors began to fear the homeowner was storing toxic or flammable chemicals on the property that could pose a danger or cause a fire. They also feared rodents would invade the neighborhood and hurt property values.

About a week ago, the homeowner began cleaning up the property. A city official said the property had numerous violations and they are working with the homeowner to clean up the property. Rosenbaum said she believes the resident, who didn't return a request for an interview, is a hoarder.

"We have to walk by it; we have to see it," she said. "It's disgraceful."
Rosenbaum's story is nothing new.

The Arizona Hoarding Task Force, which started in Scottsdale in 2010, defines hoarding on its website as "The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value."

Mental-health experts say there have always been people who hoard things for various reasons, primarily because of psychological illness. Donna Brower, a social worker and human-services coordinator for Scottsdale, who is a member of the hoarding task force, said experts believe that between 2 percent and 5 percent of the population are hoarders. That is from 6 million to 15 million Americans..."  More

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