Local hoarding case gets national attention - KCTV5

Local hoarding case gets national attention

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It is being called one of the worst hoarding situations ever, and the home in the metro was in the national spotlight.

The popular cable show "Hoarders" premiered an episode Monday night.  The person profiled goes by Alvin and chose to keep his last name and city private.

Producers of the show say they want to preserve some privacy while still raising awareness with individual stories.  It is still an affliction that people are ashamed of, they say.

Ann Graves, of Parkville, provided organizing services for Alvin.  She said the show was a whirlwind experience and was amazed at how much she had accomplished in three days, a task that usually takes her weeks or months.

"It's a slower process not only because don't have helpers alongside, but they want to take it a little bit slower because it is a big step to be moving forward," the organization specialist said.

Graves co-owns a business called "We Organize!"  Some clients have simply had enough of their clutter.  Others face a mess so severe, the state has stepped in.

"We do have a license with the state of Kansas where when families are at risk for losing their children or seniors are at risk for losing their homes.  Because of that situation, we can go in there and help them," she said.

But often, organizing is not nearly enough, especially with hoarders. 

Dr. Lisa Hale is a research psychologist with the Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment.  She has worked with the show in the past.

"It is not that they're lazy. It is not that they're just sloppy. It is a different category than just being unorganized," Hale said.  "We do the best that we can."

The anxiety specialist hopes the show raises awareness but admits there are major limitations because the underlying issues vary and some are still a mystery.

"We can clean out a home but that doesn't actually resolve the problem and there are some clinical presentations that still don't respond to therapies very well because hoarding can come from a number of different areas," Hale said.

Due to privacy concerns neither could not talk about a specific case profiled.

Producers of the show appoint a local case manager and typically require that at least half of the follow-up funds go towards mental health counseling.

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