The effort to address the challenges posed by hoarding in London, Ontario got a big boost in November with the announcement that the London Community Foundation awarded VHA Home HealthCare a $186,000 Community Vitality Grant to support the London/Middlesex County Hoarding Support Services Network.
“This grant is an incredible start to provide the much needed support to address the issue of hoarding in the community,” notes Cheryl Perera, VHA’s Director of New Ventures and Community Programs. Although VHA is the grant recipient, the network will be a collaborative effort between VHA, London and Middlesex Housing Corporation, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Middlesex, Middlesex London EMS and the London Police.
“We know that more than 500 cases of hoarding have been identified in the greater London area,” explains Perera. “By combining our resources and expertise we will be able to develop a better system to help people with hoarding behaviours.”
Hoarding is a diagnosed mental health disorder, the effects of which can be devastating and cause social, emotional and safety challenges. In the coming months, the network will be offering training and consultation to people trying to better manage their hoarding behaviours. “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,” says Perera.
A similar network led by VHA in Toronto has successfully supported people to avoid eviction and homelessness. “The results can be transformative,” notes Perera. “This initiative will likely do the same for clients in London, where there are very limited resources to help people with chronic disorganization and hoarding issues. This funding is a vital step.”