Grand Rapids Area Hoarding Task Force

The Grand Rapids Area Hoarding Task Force (GRAHT) is a partnership of public and private organizations. We work to:

  • Raise public awareness
  • Ensure safe housing for individuals struggling with hoarding

We strive to improve the quality of life and housing safety through collaboration. We coordinate resources to help people in need.

These great organizations make up the Grand Rapids Area Hoarding Taskforce:

  • Adult Protective Services for the State of Michigan                
  • Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
  • Bethany Christian Services 
  • Building Bridges Professional Services
  • City of Grand Rapids Attorney's Office              
  • City of Grand Rapids Code Compliance           
  • City of Grand Rapids Fire Department               
  • City of Grand Rapids Police Department          
  • Fair Housing Center of West Michigan
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Kent County Animal Control                   
  • Kent County Health Department            
  • Legal Aid of West Michigan
  • Moxie Life Organizing, LLC                   
  • Western Michigan University

What is hoarding

Hoarding is a mental disorder. It causes people to save and value items that others don't value. Usually they save these items in excess. Learn more from the American Psychiatric Association's What is Hoarding webpage

Individuals with hoarding disorder frequently also have diagnosis of:

  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Depression

Signs of hoarding

  • Unable to discard possessions
  • Difficult to get around the house
  • Floor and counter space within common areas of the home used as storage space
  • Fear or embarrassment of having visitors in the home
  • Isolation
  • Compulsive and emotional collecting of items
  • Limited living space in the home due to clutter

Hazards of hoarding

  • Poor health and living conditions
  • Unorganized stacked items can fall over causing physical harm to the owner and pets
  • Without proper removal of trash and waste ammonia causes health risks
  • A multitude of items has an increased fire hazard
  • Blocked entrances and exits

Measuring hoarding activity

We measure hoarding using the scale from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. Find out more about measuring hoarding here.

Hoarding Statistics

2 - 6% of the population struggles with hoarding. This percentage is increasing. We need early intervention to address the issues before a crisis occurs.


Make us aware of potential hoarders

Sometimes people don't have family or friends to help them. Do you think a neighbor may need help? Reach out to us using the email in the Contact Us section of this page. Include a description of your concerns in your email.

Talking to a Potential Hoarder

We understand it can be hard to know what to say to a person who needs help. Here are some do's and don'ts to talking with potential hoarders.

Do

  • Provide your full attention
  • Focus on the individual's good qualities
  • Draw out the best in the individual
  • Recognize and acknowledge incremental progress

Don't:

  • Be judgmental
  • Ridicule or criticize the individual
  • Exaggerate consequences
  • Belittle their feelings

Make us Aware of Potential Hoarders

Sometimes people don't have family or friends to help them. If you think a neighbor may need help, reach out to us using the email in the Contact Us section of this page. Include a description of your concerns in your email.