David’s Summer Experience

This summer (& continuing into the school year), I started a grant-funded program with four other local professional organizers. I’ve worked in a paid position as a professional organizer for homes and businesses; A good portion of the work I get to do is with hoarders.

Hoarding disorders are a sub-category of OCD (even though there are some people who think of it as a separate disorder). Hoarders suffer from the intense inability to throw anything away. For example, Syllogomania is a form of hoarding in which the hoarder collects (“hoards”) trash– empty bottles, feces, empty food containers, etc. The most common & effective treatment for hoarders is a combination of professional organizers, social workers, and other professionals (contractors, fumigators, exterminators); however, this treatment can be costly with organizer/social workers duos going conservatively for $300/hour. Most of the time, clearing out a hoarder’s house can include many services & professional– exterminators, fumigators, designers, contractors, etc. So, for those who can’t afford that sky-high pricing, the treatment is delayed until funds are sufficient or, in some cases, put off indefinitely.

I saw this affordability issue and, with the help of some of my colleagues, am in the development process of furthering this program. Currently, we are in the alpha phase which consists of forty homes that were already on the waitlist for regular treatment. In all 40 homes, the occupant (hoarder) had an annual income of less than $30,000 or could prove that their essential expenses (rent, electricity, etc) takes up more than 85% of their weekly/monthly paycheck.

I’ve had an eye-opening experience starting this program and have learned so much about the grant application process and how to navigate the legalities of a non-profit. I can’t wait until this program is fully launched and available to all our intended areas of reach (NYC + parts of NJ).

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