Hoarding Abatement

Organized in 2006, The Hoarding Task Force of Washtenaw County is a public-private partnership of 14 agencies (of which Synod is one) that seeks to raise public awareness of hoarding and to preserve safe and appropriate housing by developing best practices and early intervention strategies.

Hoarding is characterized by:

  1. The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
  2. Living spaces sufficiently cluttered to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
  3. Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding

Synod works hands-on with individuals to help achieve their set goals which can include mitigating the legal consequences of hoarding, re-establishing the usefulness or environmental quality of their housing, or negotiating family relationships. Central to Harm Reduction is the recognition that even if you do not fully stop harmful behavior, you can still make meaningful and significant improvements in your quality of life by mitigating the severity or breadth of the conduct or its impact on your life.

Hoarding is a complex human behavior. People may have trouble deciding what to part with or be overwhelmed by emotions for their things or their memories, even when faced with imminent consequences should they not reduce their belongings. Synod offers support services, physical assistance and resources that may be useful during the process of sorting and reducing possessions to a prescribed level.