Resources to Help

When a person has a problem with hoarding, it can be hard to know where to turn for help. Below is a guide to resources that may help a person with hoarding behaviors learn to live in a safe and healthy home.

If you have questions regarding hoarding-related resources in the Philadelphia area,  call one of these two helplines based on the age of the person who is hoarding:

Under 60 years of age: To be determined

60 years of age and above: 215-545-5728

Resource Guide

Aging Services

Center for the Advocacy for the rights and interests of the elderly (CARIE)

About
CARIE ‘s mission is to promote the well-being, rights and autonomy of older persons through advocacy, education and action.
 
Accessing Services
Location: 1500 JFK Blvd, Suite 1500, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215-545-5728 or 800-356-3606
Website: www.carie.org
 
First Response
CARIE Line Advocates provide education, options counseling, referrals to agencies for protective services, MH support, clean up/out help and other case management services.
 
Services/Resources
Advocates offer information, education, direct advocacy, assist with identifying and navigating available resources and provide problem solving assistance.

Service Limitations
CARIE does not offer ongoing case management or home visitations.
 
Criteria for Services
Individual is aged 60 and over or caller is looking for supports and services on behalf of an older adult.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA)


Animals

City of Philadelphia: Animal Care and Control

About
ACCT provides shelter, care, and veterinary services for homeless, abandoned and abused animals and protects the safety and welfare of Philadelphia’s citizens.
 
Accessing Services
Location: 111 W. Hunting Park Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19140
Phone: 267-385-3800
Website: www.acctphilly.org

Hours of Operation
8am—10pm, daily

First Response
Respond to complaints of animals that exceed the number legally allowed in a Philadelphia residence (12) which may or may not involve hoarding.
 
Services/Resources
•    Animal sheltering
•    Animal placement
 
ACCT encounter situations either via a code violation complaint of too many animals or animal waste. They may also assist other agencies such as L&I, Police, Sheriff's Department and Fire when animals are present.
 
Service Limitations
ACCT cannot "seize" animals, which are personal property of the owner. In the cases of animal cruelty, ACCT refers to the Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement.
 
Criteria for Services
ACCT provides assistance regarding animal related complaints and concerns for animals and residents within the City of Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania SPCA

About
The Pennsylvania SPCA was the second humane organization to be founded in the United States. Their animal shelters house rescued animals while they recover from neglect and abuse and wait for a new home.
 
Accessing Services
Location: 350 E. Erie Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134
Animal Cruelty Hotline: 866-601-7722
Phone: 215-426-6300
Website: pspca.org
Email: info@pspca.org
 
Services/Resources
• Clean-out
• Case management
• Identification of homes of people who hoard
• Animal sheltering
• Animal placement
 
The Pennsylvania SPCA is an animal shelter with humane law enforcement officers that can provide housing and medical care for the animals, law enforcement services, and animal removal assistance.
 
Criteria for Services
More animals in the home than is allowed by law; unsanitary/unhealthy conditions, injured or neglected animals.

Assessment Tools

Case Management

Jewish Family and Children Services: Hoarding Program

About
Jewish Family and Children’s Services provides a diverse array of services to help children, adults, seniors and families cope with challenges that arise through the lifecycle. JFCS’s staff of fully licensed clinical social workers are committed to providing quality services, compassionate support and solutions that work.

Accessing Services
Multiple Service Locations, including NE Philadelphia and Center City
Main Office: 2100 Arch St, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 866-532-7669 or 267-256-2000
Website: www.jfcsphilly.org

Services/Resources
• Clean-out
• Extermination
• Case Management
• Credit Counseling
• Limited Financial Assistance
• Supportive Counseling

JFCS has limited funds for clients to pay for a clean-out or extermination. JFCS can also provide case management to assist in goal setting.

Criteria for Services
JFCS provides services to individuals and families in the greater Philadelphia region, who are typically in a financial crisis or at risk of eviction.

Cleaning

Finding Cleaning Services

For Philadelphia residents cleaning out themselves, the City of Philadelphia Streets Department sets the following limits: Non-recyclable rubbish cannot exceed six 32-gallon receptacles or 12 plastic bags or an equivalent combination of the two.  There is no limit on recyclables.  If a property exceeds set out limits, a fine will be issued.

Sometimes it is necessary to hire heavy cleaning services to comply with health and safety standards. The Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force does not endorse any specific companies that provide heavy cleaning services.  The following cleaning and restoration companies have either partnered with Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force member agencies or requested permission to be listed on the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force website.

It is our hope that the companies listed on the website will show sensitivity and patience to people who struggle with hoarding behaviors by helping them clean out their homes with dignity and respect.

Donations

General Donations

Goodwill
215-463-5054
2601 Front St
www.goodwill.org

Impact Thrift
610-239-9848 or 215-957-6131 Ext #1 for scheduling
Various locations
Impactthrift.org

Project HOME
215-232-7272
1515 Fairmount Ave
www.ProjectHome.org

Restore for Habitat for Humanity
215-739-9300
Can schedule pickup
www.habitatphiladelphia.org/donate-restore

Salvation Army
215-483-3340
Various locations, Will schedule pickup
satruck.org

WhoSoEver Gospel Mission
215-438-3094
6515 Rising Sun Ave
101 E Chel ten Ave
Will schedule pickup
www.whosoevergospel.org

Book Donations

Books Through Bars
215-727-8170
47th and Baltimore
www.booksthroughbars.org

Education

The books, videos and websites listed here are excellent resources for understanding hoarding behaviors and how to help.

Books

Videos

Websites

Home Healthcare

Community Health Choices

About
The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) helps to coordinate long-term living services for people over age 60 and adults with physical and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.  OLTL helps coordinate access to home health services to allow eligible individuals to remain in their homes rather than enter an institution.

For people with hoarding behaviors, HCBS waiver programs may provide much needed supports including skilled nursing coverage or personal care assistance.  Eligibility is based on a person’s level of functioning, a person’s financial criteria and the waiver program’s capacity to take new applicants.
 
Application Process
Initial Assessment (Maximus or PCA)
Physician Certification
Level of Care Assessment (Usually PCA)
Financial Eligibility (Usually County Assistance Office)
Final Approval (Office of Long-Term Living)

Accessing Services
Maximus is the independent enrollment broker for consumers under age 60 with physical or intellectual disabilities who are seeking services from HCBS waiver programs in Philadelphia.  To schedule an assessment for services, contact Maximus at 1-877-550-4227.

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) is the enrollment broker for consumers age 60 and above who are seeking services from HCBS waiver programs in Philadelphia.  To schedule an assessment for services, contact PCA at 215-765-9040

For more information about home care services, contact the Office of Long-Term Living.
Long-Term Living Helpline Toll free 1-866-286-3636
Office of Long-Term Living Bureau of Individual Support 717-787-8091
Website: www.ltinpa.com
 
Criteria for Services
Must be Pennsylvania resident and at or below the eligible income requirements.

Visiting Nurse Association

About
The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Greater Philadelphia is the largest non-profit home health and hospice provider in the region. The VNA is Medicare Certified, licensed by the State of Pennsylvania and Accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Program.
 
Accessing Services
Location: 3300 Henry Avenue, Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA 19129
Intake/Referral Center: 215-473-7600
Website: www.vnaphilly.org
Email: help@vnaphilly.org
 
First Response
We provide mental health nursing services (home care) and make referrals to other organizations as needed.
 
Services/Resources
• Case management
• Individual therapy
• In-home health care
• In-home activities of daily living support
• In-home therapy
• Peer mentoring/individual support
• Mental Health Assessment
• Home Safety Assessment
 
Trained and certified mental health nurses provide mental health therapy, home physical and occupational therapy, speech pathology and home health aide and make referrals to other organizations on a as needed basis, such as adult protective services, PCA, assist in connecting patients with other services above which we do not directly provide. We also provide home visiting doctor services and hospice services at home and inpatient level of care at our 3300 Henry Ave location. The VNA’s service area is Philadelphia, Lower Bucks County, parts of Delaware County and eastern Montgomery County.
 
Service Limitations
The VNA only serves adults 18 and above for home care.
 
Criteria For Services
For home care and home visiting doctors, patients must have difficulty leaving their home due to mental or physical reasons. For home care, patients must have some sort of skilled home care need, which would include a mental health need. VNA will contact the physician regarding home care orders.

Home Inspection

Philadelphia Fire Department: Fire Safety

About
The mission of the PFD is to serve the public by providing comprehensive all hazard prevention, risk reduction, and emergency response.
 
Accessing Services
Location: Headquarters at 240 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia PA 19123
62 Neighborhood Fire Stations

Phone: 215-686-1382 or 215-686-1300

Website: www.freedomfromfire.com or www.phila.gov/fire

First Response
In addition to Fire Suppression and Emergency Medical Care, the PFD will provide home safety inspections, and referral to appropriate associated agencies.

Services/Resources
• Emergency Housing and Services
• Home Safety Assessment

Refer people who experience difficulties with clutter to appropriate resources and services.
The PFD can install smoke alarms and provide home safety education and inspection.

Service Limitations
The PFD does not offer ongoing case management.

Criteria for Services
The Philadelphia Fire Department serves everyone in the City of Philadelphia regardless of age, gender, race, language, or level of ability.

Legal Services

Community Legal Services

Low-income households facing housing issues due to hoarding behaviors may call 215-981-3700 and follow prompts for either landlord/tenant housing intake or homeowner intake.

SeniorLAW Center

Anyone age 60 or over can apply for legal representation by contacting the Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline 1-877-PASR LAW (1-877-727-7529) or 215-988-1232

Mental Health Services

Finding a Therapist

Finding a therapist with expertise and experience in treating hoarding disorder can be difficult. Treatment for hoarding usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for hoarding and/or harm reduction techniques. Additionally, a therapist who has experience in working with trauma and has training in dialectical therapy and family therapy is ideal.  

Treatment will often involve in-home therapy, can occur in individual or group settings as well as in the form of self –help groups (in-person or web-based) and will span over a period of time. If you are unable to find a therapist with experience in treating hoarding, a therapist with experience in obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety disorders may be helpful.  

Below are questions you may want to ask a potential therapist:  
•    What are your credentials? Are you licensed? How many years have you been in practice?
•    What are your areas of expertise? What is your training and background in treating clutter/ hoarding? What approach do you use in treating hoarding? Be cautious of therapists who say the use CBT but cannot be more specific. Make sure they can explain how CBT can specifically address hoarding issues such as using motivational interviewing, exposure/response prevention and skills training.
•    Do you do in-home visits?
•    What are your fees? What types of insurance do accept? If the therapist is not covered by your insurance, some therapists operate on a sliding-scale fee policy, were the amount you pay depends on your income.

To locate a therapist, check with your insurance company or employee assistance program for someone with expertise with treating hoarding. The following organizations have available a therapist locator database on their websites for therapists who identify themselves as specializing in treating hoarding:
•    The International OCD Foundation - www.ocdfoundation.org
•    The Anxiety Disorders Association of America - www.adaa.org
•    The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies - www.abct.org

You can also locate a therapist through local, state and federal associations.  
•    Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists - www.philadelphiapsychology.org
•    Pennsylvania Psychological Association - www.papsy.org
•    National Association of Social Workers Pennsylvania Chapter – www.nasw-pa.org or www.helpstartshere.org/find-a-social-worker
•    Pennsylvania Counseling Association - www.pacounseling.org or www.nbcc.org/CounselorFind/PA
•    Pennsylvania Association for Marriage and Family Therapy – www.pamft.com or www.therapistlocator.net
•    Psychology Today - therapists.psychologytoday.com

The Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force does not endorse any specific providers who provide therapy to people with hoarding behaviors. However, some therapists in the region have partnered with Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force member agencies or requested permission to be listed here:

Anxiety & OCD Treatment Center of Philadelphia, 1845 Walnut St, 15th Fl, (215) 735-7588
Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, Dr. Marla Deibler, Cherry Hill, NJ (856) 220-9672
Center for Mindful Exposure, Dr. Christine Molnar, Abington, PA (267) 287-8347

It is our hope that you will find a therapist who will be knowledgeable about hoarding disorder and the interventions that can address hoarding behaviors.

City of Philadelphia: Department of Behavioral Health

About
The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) is an integrated behavioral health care system comprised of the Philadelphia Office of Addiction Services, Office of Mental Health, Intellectual disAbility Services, and Community Behavioral Health.  DBHIDS components provide services through a network of agencies while collaborating with the Philadelphia School District, child welfare and judicial systems, and other stakeholders. Persons served are Philadelphia residents receiving medical assistance or who are uninsured or underinsured. Specific initiatives/services are available to all Philadelphians, such as crisis and prevention services. The DBHIDS embraces a vision of recovery, resilience, and self-determination.  
 
Accessing Services
Website: www.dbhids.org

Community Behavioral Health
A not-for-profit managed care organization responsible for the provision of mental health and substance abuse services for Philadelphia County Medicaid recipients.
Phone: 1-888-545-2600
 
Office of Mental Health
Plans, funds and monitors mental health services for more than 40,000 uninsured and underinsured adults and children. Services, which include emergency/crisis intervention, outpatient, residential and rehabilitative programs, are delivered by an extensive network of contracted community mental health centers or specialized health provider agencies across Philadelphia.
Phone: 215-685-5400
 
Office of Addiction Services
As the City’s Single County Authority for drug and alcohol programs, this Office plans, funds, and monitors substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery support services in Philadelphia.
Phone: 215-685-5403

Behavioral Health Special Initiative
A program managed by the Office of Addiction Services, BHSI serves uninsured and underinsured individuals and families as a "safety net" for people who require drug or alcohol treatment services.
Phone:      215-546-1200
 
Intellectual Disability Services
Plans, administers, monitors, and coordinates services for over 12,000 Philadelphia citizens with an intellectual disability.
Phone:      215-685-5900
 
Acute Services Delegate Line (Emergency Response)
Phone:     215-685-6440
 
Crisis/Suicide Counseling Hotline
Phone:      215-686-4420

Crisis Centers
1.    Pennsylvania Hospital Crisis Response Center
Phone:     215-829-5249
2.    Mercy Hospital Crisis Response Center
Phone:     215-748-9525
3.    Einstein Hospital Crisis Response Center
Germantown Community Health
Phone:     215-951-8300
4.    Episcopal Hospital Crisis Response Center
Phone:     215-707-2577
5.    Friends Hospital Crisis Response Center
Phone:     215-831-2600

Case Management Services for persons with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia
Phone:     215-599-2150

Case Management Services for persons with addiction challenges
Phone:      215-546-6435
 
Services/Resources
Services provided to all residents of the City of Philadelphia include Crisis and Prevention Services.  Persons who receive Health Choices Insurance through Medicaid or who are Medicaid-eligible and have behavioral health challenges (either mental health or drug and alcohol related) may receive prevention, early intervention, emergency/crisis, behavioral health assessment, treatment and recovery support, in-home therapy (limited), and peer mentoring/individual support services through a network of providers.   Case management services, supported independent living and mobile psychiatric rehabilitation services are also available to persons who qualify further for these programs.
 
Service Limitations
Serves Philadelphia residents receiving medical assistance or who are uninsured/underinsured.

Participation in services is voluntary with the exception of crisis services.  Persons in hoarding situations will quite often refuse services or may not open the door for the mobile crisis team in an acute crisis situation.  Persons with private insurance will be referred to their health insurance member services department for access to services through that insurer.

Pest Management

Finding Pest Management Services

Pest management can be difficult in a home that has excessive clutter. Some providers of pest control will not provide any services in a hoarded home because the conditions may prevent the effectiveness of the extermination.  However, some providers will assess a hoarded home and outline needed preparation efforts.

Tips for Finding A Pro

  1. Always deal with a qualified and state-licensed pest management company. Ask to see their license and other credentials (e.g., see below #3) before you hire a company.
  2. Be sure that the pest control company is properly insured, and also carries liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment.
  3. Look for pest control companies that are members of national, state or local pest management associations. Consider additional qualifications such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) QualityPro certification. Visit npmaqualitypro.com for more information.
  4. Ask friends and neighbors to recommend pest control companies they have used successfully and how satisfied they were with the service.
  5. Be wary of a pest control company that comes to your home uninvited and offers to give your house a free inspection for pests. He or she may try to scare you into authorizing immediate and costly treatments.
  6. Get bids from several pest management companies, especially if a sizable amount of money is involved.
  7. Don't rush the decision. You are paying for professional knowledge as well as skillful application of multiple tactics which may include pesticides, so consider someone whose judgment you can trust.
  8. Before contracting for services, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
  9. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing control, prevention and management are necessary.
  10. Buy value, not price. Beware of exterminators that offer bargains that sound too good to be true.
  11. Homeowners can call the state pest control regulatory agency for information regarding the status of pest management companies. In Pennsylvania the regulatory agency is the PA Department of Agriculture.
  12. For insect identification and other information, visit Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management (PA IPM) Program or contact by email at pscip@ psu.edu or by phone at 215-471-2200 x8. PA IPM does not perform pest control, but can identify, for free, insect samples, and provide information about pests and best management practices for pest control. IPM focuses on pest control that is safe, environmentally compatible, economic, and sustainable.

The Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force does not endorse any specific companies that provide extermination services.

Professional Organizing

National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO)

About
NAPOis a group of approximately 4,000 professional organizers dedicated to helping individuals and businesses bring order and efficiency to their lives.
 
Accessing Services
NAPO professional organizers can be searched for by location and by specialization on both the national and local websites: www.napo.net and www.napo-gpc.org.

Additional resources available at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization challengingdisorganization.org 

First Response
Most NAPO organizers will have some type of intake session with new clients, generally over the phone. Some offer free or paid in-home assessments to decide whether and how they can help the client de-clutter and manage their environment. Chapter members who work with people who hoard will sometimes refer them to seek care from a mental health practitioner. Organizers can determine what resources, if any, they have already accessed, and work with them to form and implement a plan of action based on their unique situation.
Services/Resources
• Clean-out
• Professional organizing
• Referring with people who hoard to resources/services
• Home Safety Assessment
 
NAPO provides certified professional organizing services by people trained to work with people who hoard.  A professional organizer primarily supports a client in managing and improving environmental issues related to disorganization. 

Suggested Questions for a Potential Professional Organizer

  1. What kinds of organizing projects do you do?
  2. Who is your typical/usual client?
  3. What services do you specialize in?
  4. Do you have any training or hold any certifications in organizing or related areas (chronic disorganization, coaching, feng shui, interior design, etc.)?
  5. Can you describe your organizing process/approach (consulting, coaching, hands-on, team organizing, seminars/workshops, etc.) and describe a typical working session?
  6. How long have you been in the organizing business?
  7. Will I work directly with you, or will you assign an employee and/or subcontractor?
  8. What is your fee structure?
  9. Do you work with a written contract?
  10. What is your cancellation policy?
  11. Can you provide references?
  12. I have tried to get organized before. How will this be different?

Keep in mind that your choice of a professional organizer is not irreversible. Professional organizers should be nonjudgmental, encouraging, and supportive. They should be good listeners and recommend a variety of suggestions, alternatives, and solutions to create the system that will work best for you. If you begin working with a professional organizer and decide along the way that you are not comfortable with his or her particular style, you are rarely under obligation to continue the relationship. Be sure to let the organizer know how you feel. More than likely, he or she will be happy to recommend a colleague.

Service Limitations
NAPO professional organizers can neither provide a clinical diagnosis for someone with Hoarding Disorder, nor any legal Home Safety assessment.  Services and assessments are based on general information, training and studies and are used as a means to support each client in de-cluttering their homes and addressing health and safety risks.
 
Criteria for Services
There are no qualifications for hiring a NAPO professional organizer.

Protective Services


PCA: Older Adult Protective Services

About
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) is a private, non-profit organization serving as Philadelphia county’s area agency on aging since 1973. PCA’s mission is to improve the    quality of life for older Philadelphians or people with disabilities and to assist them on achieving high levels of health, independence and productivity.

PCA’s Older Adult Protective Services Department provides the resources to intervene when an older adult is abused, abandoned, neglected or financially exploited. The department investigates more than 2,000 reports of abuse and neglect annually.
Older Adult Protective Services provides the resources to detect, prevent, reduce or eliminate:
•    Self-neglect
•    Neglect by a caregiver
•    Physical, sexual or psychological abuse
•    Misuse of the older adult’s money or personal property
•    Abandonment
 
Accessing Services
Main office location: 642 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone:  215-765-9040
Website: www.pcacares.org
 
Services/Resources
•    Clean-out
•    Extermination
•    Case management
•    Legal representation
•    In-home health care
•    In-home activities of daily living support
•    Referring with people who hoard to resources/services
 
Service Limitations
With the exception of case management and in-home services for daily activities, the services listed above are only available through Older Adult Protective Services
 
Criteria for Service
Age related: Client must be 55 plus and/or 60 years old depending on the service.
Client must live in Philadelphia and be at imminent risk, incapacitated and lack a responsible care giver.  PCA conducts an assessment to determine needs of client.

Liberty Healthcare: Adult Protective Services

Support Groups

Clutterers Anonymous (CLA)

About
A peer-led support group for men and women with concerns with clutter.

Center City West Meeting
Location: Center City West, 19103
Wednesdays, 11:15am – 12:45pm
Contact: Diana 215-847-4006 or CLAPhilly@gmail.com for more information

Phone Meetings
Meeting Information: (866) 402-6685

Website: www.ClutterersAnonymous.org

Services/Resources
• Participation in a 12 Step program.
• No fees or dues.

Service Limitations
Not professional care. Peer-to-peer mentoring and sponsorship.

Criteria for Services
There are no dues or solicitation for donations. Participation is voluntary and open.

Buried in Treasures