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Orbit announce funding for two new Hoarding Case Workers.

Orbit has announced that it will use some of its community investment funding to appoint two new specialist Hoarding Case Workers in Orbit Care & Repair. The project, which supports Orbit’s ambition of building communities, will provide support to individuals with hoarding tendencies and help them improve their living environments, health and well being. Orbit has committed to invest £30 million in its communities before 2020 and this project is just one of many which will support people in making positive changes in their lives.

Orbit will be taking referrals from May 2015 for vulnerable people with hoarding tendencies in Suffolk, Coventry and Rugby. The case workers will work with Orbit customers and staff whilst providing a service, and raising awareness, in the wider community.

Their role will involve carrying out home visits and providing individual tailored services for people whilst also offering information, advice, support, and advocacy. They will link into the vast array of statutory and voluntary organisations to promote the service and refer potential customers for help and support.

Managing cases of hoarding can be complicated and resource intensive.  In addition to that, it can also be intrusive and upsetting for the affected individual, their family and neighbours. Some professionals, purely through a lack of understanding, view hoarding as a ‘lifestyle choice’ and see tenancy enforcement as the solution which can eventually lead to homelessness. This can have a devastating impact on the individual: their physical and mental health and wellbeing and their ability to be rehomed if they are viewed as intentionally homeless.

By appointing the Hoarding Case Workers, Orbit will enable more people to remain living independently in their own homes and reduce the number of evictions due to hoarding issues.

Samantha Richardson, Orbit Independent Living, Hoarding Training and Development Officer, says; “By working with people within the community, the case workers will be able to help people with issues of hoarding, or people who may be struggling to cope and at risk of their property becoming overwhelmingly cluttered, by working with them directly and customising individual support plans. They will also be able to increase social interaction and encourage the individuals to become involved in their local community.”

Orbit Care and Repair has supported people with hoarding tendencies for many years. In July 2013, a Hoarding Intervention Toolkit and training programme was launched, developed in partnership with Coventry University and Knowledge Transfer Partnership. The toolkit and training uses person-centred and holistic interventions to address hoarding behaviours, change thought processes, promote healthy living and addresses the social isolation many people with hoarding tendencies experience.