Experts search for answers at convention on hoarding

Experts search for answers at convention on hoarding

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Judge Raymond Pianka of the Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division says the mental health community and
the courts are working together to clear the way in helping hoarders.

"The housing court thus far this year has used 24 40-cubic-yard dumpsters to clean out properties," Judge Pianka said.

The problem of hoarding is huge and it often leaves family members and neighbors at a loss as to what to do.

Judge Dan Hawkins works with the Franklin County Environmental Court to address the problem of hoarding in and
around Columbus.

"You talk to some of these folks and they tell you to get rid of this it would be like getting rid of my arm
or getting rid of my child," Judge Hawkins said.

There was a packed house today at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging learning how to help hoarders. Burt Rahl runs the mental programs at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.
"People didn't ask to be that way," he said. "It's a combination of genetic tendencies couple with environmental impacts
from their living arrangements early in life."

So hoarders can be helped.

"It's that aspect of a mental disability of being unable to part with things or to collect things that we need to deal with as well as the physical aspect of the property that may be a danger not only to that person, but first responders," Judge Pianka said.

Thankfully, hoarders can be helped.

"We find that moving in smaller steps is better than just going in and cleaning out a house because of there'll re-hoarding."

"The model says those that have hoarding usually have experiences in early life that make them feel unloved, unwanted and hopeless," Rahl said.

Hoarding is not just a TV show. It is a mental illness. Now, there are some 15-16-million people in the country
who suffer from hoarding.

Right here in Cuyahoga County 60,000 people have this disorder.