It becomes the primary component of a hoarder’s life and everybody else living in the home. Hoarding can impair someone’s wellbeing, social interactions, and most importantly it can be very dangerous. Hoarding is more than just having plenty of stuff, and it can actually present very serious physical health risks. People with severely hoarded homes are high risk for homelessness, health issues, and personal safety problems.
Every US city employs Public Health Department officials to inspect homes at least once annually. If they find occupants living under hoarding conditions, it’s considered a citation for a failure to keep the property. Too many of these citations can cause inspectors to condemn a house, leaving the occupants without a place to go. These citations may also turn into penalties if the circumstance is serious enough, which grows to be very costly. If there are animals, children, or dependent adults living in the home, the police can take legal actions that could result in jail time.
In many cases, once the house is condemned residents won’t be allowed back in until the home is clean enough to be brought back to code. The hoarder will then need to rely on shelters or family members to have a place to live.
Extremely hoarded homes are also at risk for dangers like mold, excessive dust and debris, and even possible biohazards. The sheer quantity of clutter makes it tough to clean properly and this may result in a buildup of dust, soil, and waste. Prolonged exposure to these conditions can result in a range of health problems such as excessive allergies, respiratory problems, and other infectious diseases.
If there are animals in the home, or infestation problems, this can lead to a buildup of waste which presents a significant biohazardous contamination. Living under these conditions places people at risk for a number of diseases.
Hoarded homes aren’t easily accessible if occupants are in danger and in need of help. If someone falls and becomes debilitated, medical first responders may have trouble reaching them.
Additionally, the amount of objects being exposed to space heaters, candles, wires, etc. makes it a fire hazard. Due to the excessive clutter, firefighters also have difficulty accessing hoarded homes. This places first responders, occupants of the house, and even neighbors in danger.
If a person is living in hoarded conditions, they’re putting themselves in danger. It’s important to find the home cleaned up and that usually requires the aid of professionals.