EDITORIAL: Action team a positive step

Reality television has turned the spotlight on hoarders over the years, but often it leads to viewers snickering and rolling their eyes over what they have seen.

And that’s unfortunate as hoarding is a very serious mental health condition that impacts two to four per cent of the general population. It’s often compounded on top of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and feelings of isolation.

That’s why a new action response team in Vernon is welcome news.

The goal of the multi-agency team is to identify situations of hoarding locally and attempt to minimize the risks, whether it is fire load caused by an excessive amount of material, rodents attracted by rotting food or damage caused to rental housing.

But, the most important goal is to extend a compassionate and caring hand to those caught in the endless cycle of hoarding and who feel they have nowhere to turn. Hoarding can lead to evictions and that can force people on to the street.

The response team can put these individuals in contact with agencies such as the Interior Health Authority, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the John Howard Society, and hopefully they will embrace services that allow them to move ahead.

And there is a history of such efforts working as another response team has reduced the number of homeless camps in the community by making people aware of resources available to them.

Let’s hope that this new response effort has just as much success as none of us in the community should turn a blind eye to fellow citizens in need.

They deserve our thoughts and prayers and they need to know that they aren’t alone.



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