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Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force relaunches

A local group that helps people struggling with hoarding disorder is relaunching after the pandemic halted its work.

The Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force is a volunteer group through Barnstable County.

They provide trainings to workers like health agents, elder services, and first responders who might encounter people struggling with hoarding through their work.

The task force is one of about thirty groups in Massachusetts that provide resources and education.

Their efforts were on hold the last few years with COVID-19 being the main public health priority.

Barnstable County Deputy Director of Health and Environment Erika Woods chairs the task force. She said coaching people with the disorder can be a lengthy process.

“We need to work with the individuals to help them understand and to help them make those decisions for those items.”

Woods said the coaching needed to cope with hoarding is typically not covered by insurance.

She said sometimes people don’t realize that hoarding is a mental health concern.

“It’s not just a matter of ‘They’re too lazy to discard it or they’re a slob.’ You hear a lot of those derogatory terms and that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a deep-seated need to hang on to those items.”

The group is holding a series of listening sessions this month to find out how they can support the community now that they’re active again.

The next one is happening May 19 at 10:30am at the Bourne Veterans’ Memorial Community Center on Main Street Buzzards Bay.

Brian Engles is an author, a Cape Cod local, and a producer for Morning Edition.