New strategy provides help for hoarders

Hoarding is recognised as a mental health issue
Hoarding is recognised as a mental health issue

Council tenants in Kinross-shire with hoarding issues are to be given help, thanks to the launch of a new initiative that’s a first in Scotland.

Representatives from Perth and Kinross Council, NHS Tayside and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service joined forces with other agencies this week to unveil the protocol, which was drawn up with the help of Linda Fay, Scotland’s first hoarding consultant.

The document recognises that hoarding is a mental health issue and will ensure that tenants with hoarding difficulties are supported in a co-ordinated way to tackle the issue.

At the heart of the approach is a multi-agency response, with housing teams working closely with social care, health and voluntary sector partners to ensure that tenants are supported with a range of actions that will help them regain control of their homes and their lives.

Hoarding has serious health risks for the person involved and is a major fire risk. Properties can also suffer many thousands of pounds worth of damage as a result.

Perth and Kinross Council’s head of housing, Lorna Cameron, said: “Compulsive hoarding can often be a complex issue for frontline housing staff who need to understand the causes and triggers to be able to provide appropriate support. Housing organisations across the country have identified hoarding as an issue that is presenting increasing challenges to staff, both in terms of supporting tenants to sustain their home and in protecting the property.”