London Community Foundation Helps Address London Hoarding Challenges with Community Vitality Grant
LONDON November 10, 2016—VHA Home HealthCare’s (VHA) London branch is delighted to announce it has been awarded a Community Vitality Grant for over $186,000 to support the development of a London/Middlesex County Hoarding Support Services Network using the foundation’s unrestricted, Smart and Caring Community Fund. Though VHA is the recipient of the grant, the network is a collaboration between VHA, London and Middlesex Housing Corporation, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Middlesex, Middlesex London EMS, and the London Police. Other community partners may also be engaged in the near future.
“We know from our partners that over 500 cases of hoarding have been identified in the greater London area,” notes Cheryl Perera, VHA’s Director of New Ventures and Community Programs. “This grant is an incredible start to provide the much needed support to address the issue of hoarding in the community.”
“By combining our resources and expertise we will be able to develop a better system to help people with hoarding behaviours,” says Acting Operations Superintendent and Community Paramedicine Lead for Middlesex-London EMS, Dustin Carter, a key partner in the network.
And while the instinct is for a quick cleanout of the home, research and experience shows this isn’t an effective way to help someone with hoarding behaviours. In fact, it can be quite traumatic and relapse is high. “This is a complex mental health so a united community response is vital as we begin to address these very challenging needs,” notes Kimberley Tremblay, Case Manager at My Sister’s Place, a program delivered by the Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex. “We currently have very limited resources in London to help people with serious chronic disorganization/hoarding issues, so this funding is an important first step.”
In the coming months the network will be offering training and consultation to those people trying to better manage their hoarding behaviours. “This is a diagnosed mental health disorder, the effects of which can be devastating and cause social, emotional and safety challenges,” says Perera.” The Community Vitality Grant will not only help us put critical systems into place, but will also allow us to roll up our sleeves and provide hands-on support to clients including access to trained clutter support coaches. The results can be transformative,” she adds noting that a similar network formed in Toronto has helped people avoid eviction and homelessness and will likely do the same for clients in London.
“We’re so excited by the London Community Foundation’s vote of confidence in developing a hoarding support network,” adds VHA’s CEO and President, Carol Annett. “For 91 years, VHA has been committed to serving the most vulnerable in our communities and this collaboration is no exception. It will undoubtedly positively impact people’s lives and the greater London community,” says Annett.