Doyle Leads Senate Passage of Hoarding Task Force Legislation
Bill creates a task force that will better prepare first responders to confront hoarding
State Senator Paul Doyle (D-Newington) today led unanimous Senate passage of SB 119, which establishes a state-wide task force that will create the best possible framework to coordinate municipal and state agencies in their efforts to address hoarding in Connecticut towns. The task force will determine best practices for first responders and municipalities looking to properly manage an instance of hoarding.
“A comprehensive, multi-faceted study of hoarding is needed to ensure that towns and first responders can effectively respond to a hoarding situation,” said Senator Doyle. “Hoarding is a serious psychiatric condition which can have serious consequences for individuals, families, and entire communities. The unanimous support for this bill is an important step toward final passage and the eventual enactment of a law that will help towns intervene in a safe and effective manner.”
“I am very happy to be one step closer to having this legislation studying hoarding in our state,” said Rep. Gary Byron (R-Newington). “Hoarding is a serious psychological disorder and this study is necessary so we can adequately safeguard those who have the disorder, and protect public safety officials and first responders. I look forward to speaking in favor of the legislation once it reaches the House floor.”
If passed, the task force will deliver recommendations on how towns and first responders can manage hoarding in way that defuses the situation while also caring for the hoarders health, so as to ensure recovery and reduce the likelihood that hoarding conditions will return.
Hoarding, which is now officially recognized as a disorder in the psychiatric diagnostic manual, occurs when a person keeps items that are no longer useful and allows them to accumulate to the point that they prevent the ordinary use of living spaces and interfere with day-to-day activities. Hoarding is believed to occur in 2-5 percent of the adult population, with the average age of onset falling around 50.
Hoarding impacts not only the hoarder, but their family and the public safety of our communities. Untreated hoarding can escalate and cause multiple issues, including structural collapse of property, utility failures and as well as health declines that lead to severe illness or accidents. Hoarding also places severe strain on a family, often leading to estrangement that worsens the hoarding behavior. The blight caused by hoarding can lead to lowered property values in the neighborhood and potential safety problems.
First responders have reported encountering hoarding at an overwhelming frequency, but are often not equipped to properly manage them. A multi-faceted approach is needed, combining mental health services for the people living with this condition, as well as “clean-out” attempts by law enforcement and families. Simply cleaning out the hoarder’s home does not work. Over 70 percent of the time the hoarding conditions return and become exponentially worse within six months of a forced clean-out.