The Lee County Task Force on Hoarding will hold an educational seminar Thursday, Aug. 8, about the effects of hoarding on families. The seminar will feature Barbara Allen, author of "Nice Children Stolen From Car" as the keynote speaker. The book is an account of Allen's teenage years and the struggles she and her siblings faced daily in their attempt to live a normal life as children of a hoarder. Dr. Belinda Bruster, Florida Gulf Coast University Professor, will also discuss the effects, signs, and symptoms of hoarding.
Florida Gulf Coast University will host the event from 9 a.m. to noon in Reed Hall, Room 249. The cost is free but registration is required due to limited seating. To register, or for more information, contact Sharon Giancola, Department of Human Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (239) 533-1464. Continuing education credits will be available for attendees.
Attendees are also invited to stay for a book signing by Ms. Allen immediately following the seminar. Books will be available for purchase for $10.00 (cash or check only).
There is no single central agency that is specifically responsible for this complex issue yet numerous agencies from law enforcement to Animal Services, the Health Department, Human Services, and many others deal with problems related to hoarding. The Task Force was formed to provide public awareness, education, and resources for individuals and families affected by hoarding.
According to the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, hoarding is defined as collecting and keeping large amounts of items, even those that appear useless or of little value to most people; having clutter in one's living spaces which keeps rooms from being used as they were intended; and having so many items that it causes distress or problems in day-to-day activities. Hoarding is considered a separate disorder from OCD and is believed to be far more common than previously thought.
The OCD Foundation further reports that "at least 75 communities in the United States have formed task forces to help coordinate care. The mission, goals and functions of the task forces are as different as the communities themselves. The common purpose of all task forces is to provide a directed and managed response to hoarding cases that come to public attention. Whether in large cities or in small towns, task forces organize and provide public education about hoarding, give out service agency information, offer trainings and give support to families."