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Injury Prevention Product Safety Assessment Articles NYC Resources Hoarding
New York City Hoarding Task Force
Organizational Members 2003 - 2004

Adult Protective Services (APS)
400 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Central Intake Referral Line: 212-630-1853

APS is a state mandated program that provides services to eligible clients. Services include financial management, heavy duty cleaning, accessing medical and homecare services and assistance in obtaining governmental entitlements. In addition, APS will petition for guardianships through the HRA Office of Legal Affairs for persons who require involuntary legal intervention to insure the safety of their person and/or property. APS investigates referrals from friends, relatives, neighbors, private and governmental agencies, the courts and other concerned individuals within the community.

An older person is eligible for APS, irregardless of income or assets if they
a) have a physical or mental impairment;
b) are unable to
  • manage their own resources
  • carry out the activities of daily living
  • protect themselves from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, passive or self-neglect, financial exploitation or other hazardous situations without assistance from others; and
c) have no one willing and able to assist them responsibly.

Even though APS provide free heavy-duty cleaning for their clients, many refuse. If the client's tenancy is threatened as a result of this refusal, APS will assess to determine if a legal action can be brought for the appointment of a guardian.

If you are considering referring someone to APS, call Central Intake Referral Line at 212-630-1853.

Alzheimer's Association
Paulette Michaud
New York City Chapter
360 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017

The New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association serves people
with the illness and their caregivers in the five boroughs of New York City. As people with Alzheimer's Disease may engage in hoarding, the Association can be helpful in exploring individual management strategies to hoarding behavior.

General services include:
  • 24-hour telephone helpline that provides referrals and support to family, professional caregivers, persons with dementia, and anyone in need of services regarding dementia.
  • Support group program for caregivers and persons with early stage dementia.
  • Educational meetings that address topics relating to the disease.
  • Counseling and support for family caregivers and persons with the disease.
  • Safe Return Program that provides assistance when a person with dementia becomes lost locally or far from home.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Stephanie LeFarge Ph.D.
424 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128
212-876-7700, ext. 4355
[email protected]

The ASPCA is a not-for-profit animal welfare organization committed to the prevention of pain and suffering in animals. The following services are provided to the Greater New York City area: humane law enforcement, counseling services for pet loss, alternative sentencing for convicted animal abusers, veterinary care, a traveling spay/neuter van, adoption services for shelter dogs and cats, humane education, legal advice, legislative and public policy work, public information and companion animal behavior training.

For assistance with animal hoarders, please contact Stephanie LaFarge, Ph.D.(contact information above).

BERGFELD's Estate Clearance Services
Kristin Bergfeld
[email protected]

BERGFELD's specializes in helping people with hoarding problems clear and reconfigure their homes. They collaborate with family, social workers, guardians, attorneys, building managers as well as community and public agencies. Services include onsite meetings with client and support team, sorting personal property, reorganizing, relocating possessions (shipping, storage, charity, etc.), removing discards, heavy-duty cleaning and a written report including recommendations for on-going maintenance.

Cardozo Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic

Cardozo Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic is a Cardozo School of Law program for New York City's elderly and disabled persons who are unable to afford fee-for-service legal representation. The clinic operates as an interdisciplinary team, including legal and social work students and professionals, to represent clients in civil matters. The team assists with advocacy, provides support services and makes referrals to appropriate agencies and resources. The clinic has represented clients who are facing eviction due to problematic hoarding, however, due to the small number of legal interns and supervising attorneys as well as the limitations of the academic calendar, they are only able to take a limited number of cases. All prospective clients are interviewed initially by telephone.

Council of Cooperatives and Condominiums
Mary Anne Rothman

The Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC Inc.) is a not-for-profit membership organization for housing cooperatives and condominiums in the New York area.

Department for the Aging
Verone Nelson
Housing Development Specialist
2 Lafayette St - Room 2100
New York, NY 10007
[email protected]

New York City Department for the Aging is a multi-faceted agency that provides information and referral, as well as direct services through our community partners. As the largest area Agency on Aging in the country, the Department assists seniors with a number of problems that threaten their ability to live independently in the community, including hoarding.

Eviction Intervention Services (EIS)
[email protected]

Catchment area: East Side of Manhattan, including Yorkville and East Harlem.

EIS serves low-to-moderate income tenants with housing problems. One of their programs is the De-Clutter Homelessness Prevention Project. EIS identifies the client's needs and steps in to help, curing the clutter problem before the tenant becomes evicted. The De-Clutter project was initiated because there had been a dramatic increase in Housing Court in the number of holdover cases based on clutter, considered by the courts to be a type of nuisance charge. EIS has seen first hand a trend in cases where elderly tenants, incapable of helping themselves and having no family and means of keeping a healthy standard of living, fall victim to a serious clutter problem. This program has been designed for tenants to keep their affordable housing by ensuring a safe and healthy home. EIS De-Clutter cases are cured in the following manner:

1) Intake/evaluation - analyze clutter problem.
2) Major cleaning by subcontracting, tenant cleaning, or both
  1. Discard of trash and recyclables (in some cases the trash completely covers the floor).
  2. Sort through tenant's belongings with the tenant's approval and remove unnecessary items.
  3. Disinfect and exterminate entire apartment, including, but not limited to, walls, floors, surface areas, and appliances, due to severe grime and filth (in some cases, a HEPA-VAC or air filter may be needed).
  4. Fumigate if necessary.
3) Housing maintenance and repairs - EIS attorneys become a liaison between the tenant and landlord in order to ensure that repairs, such as clogged drains, holes in walls, broken pipes, or non-working appliances, are addressed.
4) Legal. Our attorneys provide legal advocacy and representation in housing court if necessary.
5) Follow-up. We evaluate case outcome and track client, especially when follow-up court inspections are mandated.

Hartley House
Amanda Leis
413 W. 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
[email protected]

Hartley House is a 107 year-old settlement house located in the heart of Hell's Kitchen/Clinton. It is a multi-service agency with programs for all ages. The Home Outreach Program for Elders (HOPE) provides intensive case management for seniors (60 plus) living between W. 34th and W. 59th Streets, 5th Avenue to the Hudson River. Approximately 20% of HOPE cases involve eviction and/or clutter. HOPE works collaboratively with neighborhood legal and social services to assist clients who hoard. HOPE coordinates services such as legal representation, decluttering, Meals-on-Wheels, home care, medical and/or psychiatric care. Clients with a clutter problem, who are not seniors, can be seen by Hartley House's generalist social worker for evaluation, short-term treatment or referral. For information about HOPE services contact HOPE Director, Amanda Leis.

Heights & Hills Community Council
Judy Willig, Executive Director
160 Montague St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Catchment Area: Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill in Brooklyn

Heights and Hill Community Council was formed in 1971 by a consortium of churches, synagogues, service organizations and interested community members with the aim of helping to keep an increasingly frail older population fully woven into the fabric of the community. Through advocacy and various programs and services that support and empower the elderly, particularly those who are frail and without family supports, Heights and Hill helps their older neighbors to remain independent and safe for as long as possible. Direct services include case management, Meals-On-Heels, transportation, health promotion and caregiver support services.

Housing Court of New York
Judge Cyril Bedford

Lawsuits to evict individuals, or enforce rights regarding housing conditions, are brought in Housing Court (formally referred to as theCivil Court of New York).

Isaac H. Tuttle Fund
Margaret Diaz-Cruz
Director, Stipendiary Program

The mission of the Isaac H. Tuttle Fund is to provide for the temporal and spiritual welfare of aged persons. They provide direct financial support to individuals and to not-for-profit community-based organizations that provide services to seniors in New York. Their goal is to enable older persons to continue living in their own homes so long as they are physically and mentally able to do so. The Isaac H. Tuttle Fund is one of the financial supporters of the New York City Task Force on Hoarding and Older Adults.

Jewish Association for Services for the Aging (JASA)
Program Name: Decluttering Program
Cachement area: Manhattan
Contact: JASA Help Center at (212) 273-5272

JASA, a large community service organization, has a small "Decluttering" program to help seniors living in Manhattan avoid eviction due to safety and health issues created by an excessive collection of objects. JASA will conduct an assessment, offer a resource list of personal organizers and occupational therapists, and contribute funds (limited, with a capped amount) towards the cleaning. Due to limited staff, the majority of cases need a social worker from another agency who will work intensively on the project.

Legal Aid Society
Brooklyn Office for the Aging
111 Livingston Street, 7th floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718- 645-3111 M-F 10:00 am to 5:00pm
Catchments Area: Brooklyn

The Legal Aid Society is a law firm for low-income individuals located in New York City. The Legal Aid Society's Brooklyn Office for the Aging provides free legal services, from brief advice to full legal representation, to low-income seniors aged 60 and over living in Brooklyn with regard to a variety of civil legal matters. However, the emphasis is on eviction prevention and maximization of government benefits. The office conducts a telephone intake system, as well as visits to homebound clients who are unable to travel. Call the above number for information (Brooklyn residents only).

The Legal Aid Society's Civil (non criminal) Division has other offices that serve each borough, and more information can be found either on their website at or by calling the main number of the Civil Division at (212) 440-4300.

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens
11 Park Place, suite 1116
New York NY 10007

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens is dedicated to helping New York City's seniors enjoy healthier, safer more productive and dignified lives in their own homes and communities and to help them avoid the need for premature institutionalization. The Foundation's Community Guardian Program (CGP) serves adults 18 and over who reside in the community throughout the five boroughs and who are referred through New York City's Adult Protective Services (APS). Many of these clients have accumulated years of belongings and face evictions due to hoarding. Where possible, the CGP works in collaboration with APS to arrange for heavy-duty cleanings of the client's home and provides a range of social services, financial, legal and housing assistance per court mandate.

New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD)
100 Gold St.
New York, NY 10038

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the nation. One of its responsibilities is to enforce the Housing Maintenance Code (HMC), which establishes the minimum standards of health, safety, fire protection, light, ventilation, cleanliness, maintenance and occupancy in residential apartments in New York City. In city-owned buildings, as the landlord, the city attempts to prevent its tenants from becoming homeless by offering support services through the Division Of Property Management (DPM). DPM provides a variety of early and crisis intervention services primarily to families and tenants in HPD-managed buildings. Click here to find out more about who to contact for help if a client lives in city-owned housing under the jurisdiction of HPD.

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, provides affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs. NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. If a resident in a NYCHA building has a hoarding problem, the Development Manager of that building will decide the best resources to help that resident, including contacting their own social services and janitorial department or making a referral to Adult Protective Services.

To contact the Development Manager, call the building's management office. To find out if a building is a NYCHA property, go to NYCHA's website at and click on the Property Guide button. You can search by "building address", "development", or "block and lot" number.

Rent Stabilization Association
123 William Street,
New York, NY 10038

The Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) is a trade association (membership required) in New York City representing 25,000 property owners/agents responsible for approximately one million units of housing. RSA's members range from owners of one small building to large multi-family complexes, cooperatives & condominiums. RSA members, like all building owners, have tenants who have problems with hoarding. Representatives from RSA joined the Hoarding Task Force to represent the owners' point of view on the myriad health and life safety issues caused by hoarding behavior.

Supreme Court Mental Hygiene Legal Service

Search & Care
Susan Siroto, CSW
Program Director
1844 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10128

Search and Care is a small community-based agency meeting the needs of the elderly who live between East 86th and East 96th Streets. They provide a range of services including help with decluttering.

Selfhelp Community Services, Inc.
Masha Friedman, ACSW, CSW-R
Registered Guardian
Selfhelp Community Services, Inc.
520 Eighth Avenue-5th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Selfhelp Community Guardian Program is appointed by the New York State Supreme Court to provide guardianship services for people deemed legally incapacitated. A guardian is an intensive case manager, a surrogate decision-maker, a coordinator of community services and a money manager. When someone requires supportive services to protect him or her from abuse, exploitation, and/or eviction, it is the guardian who can step in and provide protection.

For additional information about Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. or its Community Guardian program, please contact Masha Friedman at the number listed above.

VNS Choice
Rayna E. Taylor, MSW,CSW
VNS CHOICE Community Care
Manager, Social Work
5 Penn Plaza, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
[email protected]

VNS CHOICE is a comprehensive managed long-term care program for older adults who wish to live at home but need assistance with day-to-day activities. As a member of VNS CHOICE, clients work with their own Nurse Consultant to develop a plan of services designated especially for them, including making referrals to agencies that can assist with decluterring. All of the Medicaid long-term care and other health-related services are provided through VNS CHOICE. All services of VNS CHOICE are provided by the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and providers of VNS CHOICE Community Care Network.

Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Risa Breckman, CSW
Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology
Irving Sherwood Wright Medical Center on Aging

The Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology has a Manhattan-based geriatric primary care practice, The Irving Sherwood Wright Medical Center on Aging (WC), which has a social worker on staff assisting WC patients, including patients with hoarding problems. The Division's geriatric psychosocial Web site ( has a user-friendly directory of over 1,400 NYC Medicare mental health providers, including a listing of over 125 NYC practitioners specializing in clients with hoarding problems.

Weill Medical College of Cornell
Bob Abrams, MD
Division of Geriatric and Gerontology

Consultant to the Task Force
Randy Frost, Ph.D.
Harold Edward and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology, Smith College
[email protected]

Advisors to the Task Force
Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy
Stephen Phillipson, Ph.D.
137 East 36th Street, Suite 4
New York, NY 10016

Project Director
Rosemary Bakker, MS, ASID
Research Associate in Gerontologic Design In Medicine
Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology
Weill Medical College of Cornell
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New York-Presbyterian. The University Hospitals of Columbia and Cornell