Friday, April 26, 2019 – Toronto, ON – The Toronto Hoarding Support Services Network (THSSN) has launched a website—torontohoardingnetwork.ca—to provide Torontonians with a one-stop information site for hoarding support. The website addresses a challenging gap identified by both service providers and people with hoarding behaviours by delivering clear information about the supports that are available in the city.
“With torontohoardingnetwork.ca, we have created a resource that includes a range of hoarding-related information and materials to support people with problematic hoarding, their loved ones and the community overall. The site includes online assessment tools, downloadable supports, helpful videos, and information about available services, including links to additional resources and service providers,” says Andrea David, Regional Manager of Community Support Programs at VHA Home HealthCare, the lead organization on the initiative.
Yvonne Zilber, who has lived experience of hoarding, contributed her perspective to the website and sits on the THSSN. “I didn’t believe I was a hoarder. My daughter told me and I was in denial. I just didn’t understand it. She searched for help for me and couldn’t find it anywhere. Then eventually she found a program through Sunnybrook hospital,” says Zilber. “After therapy I still think I suffer with the disorder but I have awareness now, and that’s why the THSSN is so important. A lot of people suffer and the biggest thing is that this brings education into the community now. People can talk about it and get help.”
In addition to serving as an information hub for people in the community, it is also a platform for greater coordination across agencies serving people with problematic hoarding. “Each of our partner agencies can share information and queries, and learn from an array of service providers in a secure partner forum on the site. This is incredibly useful when dealing with a complex issue like hoarding, which often requires coordination across health and social service organizations,” David explains.
TorontoHoardingNetwork.ca was formally launched at an event on April 26th at the North York Civic Centre including a panel featuring members of the THSSN. The site is conveniently divided into three sections:
1. materials for individuals with lived experience of hoarding
2. caregivers and family members of people with hoarding behaviours
3. community members and service providers seeking additional insight into hoarding
Hoarding—now classified as a clinical diagnosis—is a significant problem in Toronto. The compulsive desire to collect items can cause incidents of injury in the home, collapsing floors, infestations, and fire hazards. It often leads to eviction and can take a heavy toll on mental health, physical health and relationships. David adds, “understanding the condition and the strategies and services available to support individuals who hoard is vitally important, and the new THSSN website brings that information easily within reach for everyone.”
The THSSN website is the result of a collaboration between the 16 community agencies of the THSSN and is funded by City of Toronto. The Toronto Hoarding Support Services Network is accepting new clients and client referrals at 416-482-4622. More information is available at www.torontohoardingnetwork.ca.
The Toronto Hoarding Support Services Network is a group of 16 community service and government agencies that coordinate services to address problematic hoarding behaviours and mitigate the dangers posed to and by people who exhibit them. It provides services to help and support clients in managing clutter while providing the emotional support required to live safely. This housing stability project is funded by the City of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division. The lead agency is VHA Home HealthCare.