Finding Support for People With Hoarding Problems

Hoarders may be a popular reality TV show that features a few dozen people with compulsive hoarding disorders every season, but the truth is that millions of Americans suffer from compulsive hoarding. 


At Griswold Law, we address the impact of distressed hoarding properties on a regular basis. 


The good news is that there is support for these behaviors. Compulsive hoarding behavior can be treated, and families can use the following tools to support their loved ones who struggle with this mental health disorder.

Organizations That Provide Hoarding Support & Resources


There are several non-profit and advocacy organizations that exist to support people who have compulsive hoarding behaviors. 


Clutterers Anonymous is a great resource if you are concerned about the long and short term impacts of hoarding behaviors. You can receive free and confidential support for your hoarding behaviors through their support groups, articles, and advocacy. 


The International OCD Foundation has published several articles on their website about topics like dealing with the holidays as a hoarder, finding a hoarding task force to help when things get overwhelming, and addressing hoarding disorders in the community. 


One company that provides hoarding clean-up services also provides online support groups that meet weekly. 


Often, there are local resources that are available to people affected by hoarding, including the hoarders themselves and their families. Here in California, local municipalities and organizations understand that distressed properties cause a lot of problems for the community, and it is in everyone’s best interest to provide help. 


That’s why places like San Diego County Mental Health Services provide hoarding treatment services, while Orange County has a local task force that addresses these concerns. The Orange County Hoarding Task Force says that their mission is to provide “a collaborative effort to help people live safely in their homes.” 

How a Court-Appointed Receiver Can Help

Sadly, things don’t always get better with these resources. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for homes to become uninhabitable due to the clutter associated with hoarding tendencies. 


In a situation like this, the homeowner may not be able to make appropriate decisions about his or her own health and safety. When a property becomes distressed because it is overflowing with personal belongings, trash, waste, and pests, it may be time for someone else to step in and take over.


What are families supposed to do in this situation? 


There are also circumstances when a hoarder passes away or is hospitalized, which can create an abandonment issue. If there is no family to step in and remedy this problem, how can the city address the complexities of an abandoned property where a hoarder has accumulated massive amounts of items?


This is often where a court-appointed receiver becomes a valuable resource.

What Is a Receiver?

A court-appointed receiver is a legal representative whom the court directs to take care of properties. Receivers aren’t just appointed in hoarder situations, but also when there are property disputes, issues with abandonment, or concerns related to public health and safety. 


When it comes to hoarding, the receivership solution is implemented when the city brings a lawsuit against the property owner, and a judge agrees that a third party should take control of the property. This can alleviate the stress that is put on families, because they no longer have to make the hard decisions about what happens next.


The receiver oversees the physical labor of moving items out of the house, arranging storage, recycling or throwing out unsalvageable items, cleaning the property, and then addressing any structural deficiencies. 


Because the hoarder and their family is often still very involved in this process, the receiver needs to have a good working relationship with the occupant and any of their families. Everyone shares a common goal: allow the homeowner to live safely within their home. 


This can mean creating a trusted team of professionals, including organizers, counselors or therapists, contractors, and crew members. 

Griswold Law’s Successful Receivership History

Richardson “Red” Griswold has served as a court-appointed receiver in countless hoarding situations. Some of these properties are featured on our website as examples of our work.


Before and after photos of several of these properties show the hard work that has gone into making these homes safe for habitation again. 

If you need help with taking the next steps to remedy a hoarder problem in your family or community, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact us at Griswold Law today to learn more about the receivership remedy and why it may be the best course of action.

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