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Wednesday January 8th, 2014

Posted at 7:49pm

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Windsor Fire and Rescue Chief Bruce Montone announced a new strategy Wednesday to deal with the problem of hoarding.

Fire officials say that an increased trend of hoarding in homes and apartments has developed in Windsor, and this can create a number of health and wellness risks for the community, from fires and infestations to sickness and social isolation.

With Windsor Fire & Rescue Services as the lead, a coordinated system of reporting is being introduced among a hoarding coalition that includes the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, City of Windsor Building and Social Services, Windsor-Essex County Humane Society, Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, COAST/Windsor Police Service, Legal Assistance Windsor, Family Services, Canadian Mental Health Association, Victim Services, Community-University Partnership (CUP), and multiple Windsor Essex social housing groups.

“The partners involved are all, in their own way, experts in the causes and effects of hoarding,” says Chief Montone. “This behaviour can be a symptom of compromised mental health and can lead to further problems for the overall health of the people involved and their neighbourhoods. So, we’re taking a holistic approach and assembling a team that can see this problem from every angle.”

Using 311 as the central contact point, a standardized form will now be used to report to Windsor Fire as the coalition leader, who will then coordinate the response to each occurrence.

“This is not an invasive strategy, and it’s not aimed to create new inspections, but it gives each agency a consistent means of dealing with the hoarding that they’re already finding when they’re out in the community,” says Chief Montone. “For example, our staff at Windsor Fire will now include hoarding as an item of consideration in the Caring Outreach Program and Education (COPE) visits that they conduct.”

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