Hoarding >> How To Help A Hoarder

In some cases, the best option would be to put the property into a receivership under Health & The City would ask the court to appoint a receiver who would take over the property and would have the power to make arrangements for repairs, cleanup, or sale. The receiver would work with the How To Help A Hoarder individual's family, non-profits, appropriate social services, court-appointed conservator of the person, etc., to resolve the situation. 

The City would put a lien on the property to recover costs. In preparation for this report, staff made contact with 33 How To Help A Hoarder jurisdictions in the state of California to determine how other cities and counties address interior hoarding. Of the jurisdictions contacted, 58% stated that they do not abate interior hoarding conditions, 27% stated that they rarely abate, 12% stated that they do abate, and 3% stated that they indirectly abate through a court appointed receivership process. 

Of the How To Help A Hoarder jurisdictions that abate interior hoarding conditions, none have established a specific ordinance prohibiting hoarding. Instead, they use building, housing, fire, and nuisance codes, or a combination thereof. Specific anti-hoarding ordinances are not necessary and provide no additional legal tools over existing codes. 

Hoarding is commonly thought to be associated with mental illness, which is one reason most jurisdictions do not take a strict code enforcement approach. Instead, they work hand-in-hand with How To Help A Hoarder property owners.

Also, they often How To Help A Hoarder attempt to put them in touch with social service agencies and resources dedicated to helping hoarders such as Clutterers Anonymous and the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation. Both agencies provide support groups for hoarders in the South Bay. 

If Council approves the development of a Web page pertaining to hoarding, these How To Help A Hoarder agencies and several others would be listed. In extreme cases, some jurisdictions abate interior hoarding conditions; however, these situations are rare. Staff recently met with two code enforcement officials with the City of San Jose who work to resolve interior hoarding conditions at select properties. 

Like all of the How To Help A Hoarder other agencies surveyed, San Jose does not have a specific anti-hoarding ordinance. The staff only works with property owners where very serious conditions exist. Like most jurisdictions that address interior hoarding, San Jose always attempts to achieve voluntary compliance first. 

This is done by working collaboratively with the property owner even though the process is time consuming and progress is often slow. San Jose has a population of almost one million people; however, they only How To Help A Hoarder abate one to two properties per year for extreme conditions of interior hoarding. And, the conditions at these properties are so severe and unsanitary on the inside and outside that they are often profiled by the media. 

A senior member of the Cupertino code enforcement staff stated that while they are very effective in resolving cases of exterior hoarding, they do not attempt to resolve interior hoarding conditions due to Fourth Amendment concerns. Similar to past How To Help A Hoarder practices in Sunnyvale, cities like Cupertino only address interior violations related to a lack of running water, heat, functioning toilet, structural deficiencies, etc. 

Tenants, due to unresponsive property owners, will sometimes report these types of violations. In the course of studying this issue, staff came across a severe case of interior hoarding which expedited the development of an ad How To Help A Hoarder task force to address it. 

If Council directs staff to continue with the establishment of an ad hoarding task force, the group would work collaboratively, on a case-by-case basis, to address and resolve extreme interior hoarding conditions at residential properties. A county-wide regional task force on hoarding does not exist. 

FISCAL IMPACT The cost of resolving interior hoarding conditions at residential proprieties is relatively unknown because it would depend upon the extent and nature of the code violations. It would also depend upon the willingness and How To Help A Hoarder cooperation of property owners to voluntarily correct the violations. 

If a property owner is making progress, even if progress is slow, staff would most likely continue to work with him or her and involve the various stakeholders from the task force to assist them, using a multidisciplinary approach. However, if the property owner makes no progress and the property is abated, the owner would be charged the cost of the abatement. 

Generally, administrative citations would be issued for non-compliance prior to an abatement action. Staff expects to absorb the How To Help A Hoarder cost of working with severe interior hoarders within the existing budget. The cost to develop a City Web page and promote it to the public would require minimal staff hours and would also be absorbed within the existing budget. 

PUBLIC CONTACT Public contact was made by posting the How To Help A Hoarder Council agenda on the City's official notice bulletin board outside City Hall, at the Sunnyvale Senior Center, Community Center and Department of Public Safety; and by making the agenda and report available at the Sunnyvale Public Library, the Office of the City Clerk and on the City's Web site. 

Continue with the creation of an ad How To Help A Hoarder task force to address interior. Hoarding conditions at residential properties. Create a City Web page which How To Help A Hoarder would provide the public with information and resources about hoarding. 3. Do not address interior hoarding conditions at residential properties. 

RECOMMENDATION Staff recommends alternatives 1 and 2. 1. Continue with the creation of an ad How To Help A Hoarder task force to address interior hoarding conditions at residential properties. 2. Create a City Web page which would provide the public with information and resources about hoarding. If Council approves the continuation of an ad task force, it would first attempt to work collaboratively with the property owner, even if it means incremental progress is being made. 

If the property owner fails to work with staff and resolve the violations, progressive enforcement would commence, which could result in the issuance of administrative citations, property abatement, or deeming the structure unsafe for human How To Help A Hoarder habitation. Cases of severe interior hoarding in Sunnyvale are relatively unknown because, like most jurisdictions, the City has not pursued them. 

Staff also recommends that a City Web page be created which would provide the public with helpful How To Help A Hoarder information and resources about hoarding. The information included on the Web page would be regularly publicized through social networking sites, the Sunnyvale Quarterly Report, the City Manager's blog, and other information sharing platforms.

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