Hoarding in the Region of Peel: A Collaborative Response to a Complex Issue


Hoarding disorder is recognized as a distinct mental health diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). It is commonly defined as  feeling  compelled to collect and save items, and a persistent difficulty  to discard  items (Kress et al, 2016; Dozier & Ayers, 2017). The compulsion to collect leads to an over-crowding of living spaces which can spread outside of living areas, and significantly hinders an  individual's  ability to perform daily living tasks such as preparing food and performing self-care (Kress et al, 2016; Ayers et al 2013).  Although hoarding disorder is the clinically correct term, other ways to describe the behaviour include collecting behaviours or accumulating clutter. In this report, the term collecting behaviours is used as appropriate.

Description of the Issue

Responses to collecting behaviours are largely focused on appropriate mental health interventions; however, individuals with collecting behaviours may interact with other service providers, such as Fire Services, Police Services, and Municipal Bylaw Officers, due to the impact of their behaviours on their place of residence (e.g., fire hazard, neighbour complaints). As a result, a comprehensive response when working with individuals with collecting behaviours is needed.

Purpose of Project and Scope of Work

To create a comprehensive response to support individuals with collecting behaviours in Peel Region, Service and Housing in the Province (SHIP), in partnership with the Coalition on Hoarding in Peel (CHIP), worked with Hub Solutions to understand the impact of collecting behaviours in the Region, survey the scope of collecting behaviours in the Region, and analyze best practices to develop a coordinated approach to care and interventions. The project focused on six main data sources:

  1. A literature review of emerging and/or best practices and service delivery models;
  2. A review of key policies and legislations which relate to hoarding;
  3. An environmental scan of current services available in Peel Region;
  4. Interviews with key stakeholders who have experience working with individuals with collecting behaviours;
  5. Interviews with individuals with lived experience of collecting behaviours;
  6. A jurisdictional scan of existing hoarding networks and coalitions.

This report presents results from these six data sources. A companion report was also created based upon the results from this report to develop a strategic framework for CHIP.

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