Daily we get calls from clients who are in dire need. They are crying and scared and stressed. They are being forced to clean up their apartments from landlords who own the property.
Neighbors complain about what is going on behind the closed doors. They are not allowed inside but sometimes the smells and the rodents expand beyond the boundaries of the walls. When this happens, it becomes problematic. One the easiest ways to get the homeowner's attention is with force, threats and punishment.
A notice is given: You must clean this up in 30 days or you will be evicted. Or you will go to jail. Or you will be fined $1000 dollars.
Most landlords will go ahead and continue the process of eviction if the homeowner does not make efforts to clean up. I have heard time and time again, a judge will say clean up your home or you will face jail time.
Where is the compassion? Where is the mental health assistance? Why are we treating this mental illness as a crime?
We must come up with a better way to help those who are already suffering. Threats, fines, and jail time as punishment do not fit the crime of being mentally ill.
Our community leaders, landlords, judges, and officials need to understand that putting someone in jail or in the streets for having Hoarding Disorder in the not the answer.