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New trial launched to help those struggling with hoarding

PUBLISHED: 13:14 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:49 28 January 2020

A new trial is under way in East Suffolk to help people living in rented properties who may be struggling with hoarding. Picture: East Suffolk Council

A new trial is under way in East Suffolk to help people living in rented properties who may be struggling with hoarding. Picture: East Suffolk Council

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An innovative approach has been launched to help people living in rented properties in East Suffolk who may be struggling with hoarding.

East Suffolk Council has been awarded £56,950 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - with a new trial under way for housing tenants who may be hoarding items in their homes and neglecting their health and wellbeing.

Working in partnership with Lofty Heights, Access Community Trust and Flagship Housing, the council's private sector housing team will work with tenants and landlords to address poor housing standards in properties where the tenant is showing signs of hoarding and self-neglect.

The trial will offer support to tenants through the decluttering process as well as helping to improve their mental wellbeing, addressing the causes of their hoarding and reducing the risks of hoarding recurring in future.

Following the clearance of hoarded items, any underlying housing issues and hazards will be addressed by the private sector housing team to ensure the home provides a good standard of accommodation.

Richard Kerry, East Suffolk's cabinet member for housing, said: "Hoarding is a complicated issue and many people living in these circumstances have complex mental health and support needs.

"As well as being a safety risk, hoarding makes homes difficult to heat and to clean, which can mean the property falls into disrepair with the occupants living in unhygienic and dangerous conditions.

"This can further impact on people's mental and physical health and there is also a risk that hoarding results in the tenant losing their home.

"We want people to be able to stay in their homes and so by supporting both the tenants themselves and landlords with tenancies where hoarding is an issue, we hope to be able to address any issues before they escalate."

It is estimated that between two per cent and 5pc of the UK population has a hoarding disorder and that up to 1,000 rented homes in East Suffolk could be affected.

As well as supporting vulnerable residents, Access Community Trust will also operate a fortnightly 'Tenant Tuesday Café', providing a safe space for tenants in need of further support.

Training will also be available in Lowestoft and Saxmundham for landlords who want to learn more about supporting vulnerable tenants, such as those leaving care.

For more information about the scheme or to make a referral, please contact Private Sector Housing on 01394 444506 or email ps.housing@eastsuffolk.gov.uk


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