Over the years NLS has been involved in many cases involving compulsive hoarding in a housing context, and we have learnt first hand the difficulty and complexity of such matters, as well as of the dearth of resources available to hoarders and their advocates. Today, compulsive hoarding is increasingly part of the public consciousness. Yet this complex issue is often reduced to garish portrayals on reality television or to stereotypical depictions in the media when recounting the actual or potential health and safety risks of such compulsive behaviour.
This is why a recent scholarly article in the Canadian Journal of Poverty Law by Lauren Blumas, a Student-at-Law at Toronto law firm Iler Campbell, is particularly important. Ms. Blumas neatly analyzes compulsive hoarding through the lens of human rights law and the social disability model, parsing out the psychological, psycho-social and legal dimensions of a difficult and complicated issue. As a result, Ms. Blumas paints a picture of compulsive hoarding that is rich, nuanced, and humane. Most importantly, it presents a fulsome account of compulsive hoarding in a housing context that stands in stark contrast to the popular caricatures and stereotypes associated with this difficult and sometimes debilitating disability. Further, the recommendations contained in the article for dealing with compulsive hoarding as a social and legal issue deserve to be taken seriously by advocates, housing providers and decision makers alike. We hope that Ms. Blumas' article will be read widely, and will urge others to contribute to this under-studied field.
Read the full article here OR download a pdf copy.
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