Public Safety and Security Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY HOARDING.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Public Safety and Security Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
This bill seeks to create a task force to study the issues concerning hoarding.
Substitute Language (LCO 2906):
(a) Establishes a task force to study issues concerning hoarding.
(b) The task force shall consist of certain appointed members.
(c) All appointments to the task force shall be made not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section.
(d) The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate shall select the chairpersons of the task force from among the members of the task force.
(e) The administrative staff of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public safety and security shall serve as administrative staff of the task force.
(f) Not later than January 1, 2017, the task force shall submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such a report or January 1, 2017, whichever is later.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Judith Dicine, CT Division of Criminal Justice, strongly supports this bill and reiterates the position that it has taken in support of similar legislation in the 2015 Regular Session. Ct. Division of Criminal Justice stands ready to actively participate in the task force.
Julie Evans Starr, Connecticut's Legislative Commission on Aging supports the creation of a task force. Hoarding is not officially recognized as a disorder and usually occurs when a person accumulates items that are no longer useful and interfere with day-to-day activity. Hoarding is believed to occur in 2-5% of the adult population and can occur at any age although the average age is about 50. The cost of hoarding impacts the hoarder, hoarder's family, the community and the municipality. It can be difficult and dangerous to tolerate a hoarding situation because the hoarder becomes increasingly isolated which may serve to intensify the hoarding.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Representative Devin Carney supports the bill. Hoarding is a recognized disorder that is multifaceted and having a task force or experts is an important first step to better understand and treating this disorder. The complex nature of this disorder requires investigation and attention to those with the disorder and those affected by the disorder.
Representative Gary Byron submitted testimony in support of the bill. Hoarding affects first responders by limiting their mobility should they have an emergency in a hoarders home. We owe those affected by this disease as well as those in our community to look at this issue and rectify this dangerous situation.
Carol LaBrecque, Human Services Coordinator, Town of Newington testified in support of the bill. Hoarding is difficult to deal with due to the resistance of people living with this diagnosis and the extreme shame and stigma attached to the disease. I have included in my testimony about two cases of people living with this diagnosis who did not ask for help and they ignored basic physical environment needs because they were too ashamed request help.
.Connecticut Association of Directors of Health supports the bill. Hoarding is a public health issue that can cause safety risk to others. We must balance the need to protect the rights of individuals and the hazard to their health and the health of the community. CADH would request that at least three positions on the task force be public health professionals from the urban health department, from a rural health department and one from an environmental health department with experience in investigating hoarding complaints.
Keith Flood, Fire Marshall, West Haven testified for the bill. Hoarding is identified as collecting excess which puts the person at risk as well as members of the public. We usually respond to hoarding cases after a complaint has been made. It is a lengthy process and many communities don't have the manpower to handle all the many re-inspections and additional services needed to provide a solution to the problem.
Maghan Manke testified in support of the bill. As a firefighter in Newington I work extensively with hoarding cases. I currently serve as a facilitator for the Statewide Hoarding Working Group. First responders frequently encounter hazardous conditions but are not equipped with the skills or training to intervene in these cases. I offer my full and unwavering support for this bill and would offer my expertise to the committee.
Connecticut Coalition of Property Owners supports the bill. Hoarding is a problem that needs to be addressed. Landlords have been addressing this problem on a regular basis and should have representation on the task force.
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities supports the bill. We are appreciative to have representation on the Task Force. Local officials realize the sensitive and important response that must be done to assist individuals that hoard.
Sharon Gauthier and Raymond Steadward both submitted testimony in support of the bill. They both offered assistance with the subject.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by Pamela Bianca