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Safe and Sanitary Homes Collaborative Works to Prevent Hoarding

Safe and Sanitary Homes Collaborative Works to Prevent Hoarding

Springfield, MO – Community Partnership of the Ozarks and the Springfield Fire Department are pleased to present the Safe and Sanitary Homes (SSH) Collaborative to the community. The group was originally formed in 2013 to raise awareness about the impact of hoarding and severe squalor on our community and provide resources for those dealing with the serious issue. In May of 2014, the group was designated as a Community Partnership of the Ozarks Collaborative.  The SSH Collaborative’s mission is to ensure the health and safety of all citizens and first responders by educating and empowering our community to address and alleviate hoarding and unsanitary living conditions.  In recent years, firefighters have seen an alarming increase in safety issues related to compulsive hoarding and severe squalor.  The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to both those who live in the home and others who may enter the home, including firefighters.

Already the SSH Collaborative has been working to meet its mission. In June, the collaborative was selected to receive $2,000 from the O’Reilly Family Foundation to help clean up homes where hoarding and/or severe squalor is creating unsafe living conditions.

“Unfortunately, helping those living in severe squalor or suffering from hoarding disorder can be extremely costly,” said SSH Chairperson and Springfield Fire and Life Safety Educator Cara Erwin.  “Mitigation may include trash disposal, extermination and even mental health counseling.  This generous grant from the O’Reilly Foundation is a great start toward helping those who want help and raising awareness about this serious issue in our community.”

In addition to the direct help that is now available, the SSH Collaborative unveiled its new website, www.safeandsanitaryhomes.org, to help educated the community about the signs and symptoms of hoarding and to show ways to get help or what to do if you know someone living in these conditions. Additionally, a TV Public Service Announcement was created to show how quickly hoarding can spiral out of control and potentially lead to death in some severe cases. The PSA can be readily viewed on the website or a copy may be requested from Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ Office of Communications.

Members of the SSH Collaborative include representatives from the Springfield Fire Department, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Springfield Environmental Services, Springfield Building and Development Services, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Care to Learn, Springfield Public Schools, Missouri Children’s Division, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Burrell Behavioral Health, Council of Churches, and the Wooten Company, among others.