Following up the Hoarder Saga

In 2019 I posted a couple of blogs about my hoarder neighbors. Since then a lot has happened. I had feared the worst in the beginning because of the risk the house would get condemned, but actually I came out pretty well. The health department stepped in for awhile because of a small child’s health was at risk of lead poisoning. Old houses like mine have lead paint all over them and the government has some generous grants to clean it up. This got me new windows in the attic all around, a railing installed at the top of the attic stairs, new steps going up to my apartment on the second floor, front and back, a new bathroom sink installed, two new windows in my dining room, the problematic peeling old wall paper base over plaster walls in the kitchen was fixed and they even painted ceiling.

Not a complete makeover but a lot of work I never would’ve accomplished on my own. I was inspired to paint my kitchen walls after that, getting rid of the ugly “renter’s white” color that made it look so squalid.

Meanwhile, the inspector is still busy trying to get my neighbor to clean up the basement. I learned a lot about hoarders since I’ve had to live through this. I’ve read a number of books on the subject that I have passed on to the inspector for his own use too. Generally, hoarders are very nice people and easy to get along with, a personality trait that’s a saving grace for them. However, they’re also very difficult. The inspector told me he’s had to take classes about hoarders and how to deal with them as an inspector. It would take a lot of government resources and can be very expensive to help a hoarder clean up and stay cleaned up than what the city can afford, and it’s a growing problem. Most people think hoarders are a poor man’s domain. Just the opposite. Most hoarders are from well off families, and it is not something they learned from their parents who lived through the Great Depression as many people seem to think. Hoarders are often broke because they’re also paying for off site storage units which can amount to just as much if not more than their monthly housing expense. Cities are still in the early stages of figuring out what to do about hoarders without condemnations and evictions. It’s a mental health issue and nothing short of a court order will a hoarder seek the counseling they need until they themselves acknowledge they have a problem. Five city dump trucks parked outside the house ready to clean it out isn’t convincing enough. A hoarder will continue to argue that it’s not that bad.

The Granddaughter who was in the basement with the baby has her own apartment now and seems to be quite happy with it. I haven’t seen the daughter around in awhile. I heard she’s moved about 20 miles away and probably living in somebody else’s garage. I don’t know. Anyway, all’s been quiet here.

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