Via the COH Facebook page and the Hoarding Project, I hear that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed September 2012 as "Hoarding Awareness Month."
By itself, a proclamation doesn't change things very much, but it demonstrates that awareness of an issue is rising, which suggests that more effective change might be on the way.
Thank you, Governor Dayton!
One state down. Forty-nine to go.
STATE of MINNESOTA - PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS: Hoarding is behavior characterized by three criteria: the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions; clutter that precludes activities for which living spaces were designed; and significant distress and impairment as a result of the hoarding; and
WHEREAS: Hoarding is a mental health concern found to be related to genetic vulnerability, mental health, cognitive deficits, trauma, or loss; and
WHEREAS: It is estimated that between two and five percent of people in the United States hoard. When the effect upon family and community members is taken into account, the problem becomes even greater; and
WHEREAS: Treatment for hoarding is often ineffective, possibly due to a lack of understanding of hoarding behaviors in the public and professional sectors; and
WHEREAS: Studies show homes that took ten years to become "hoarded" will likely become "re-hoarded" within three to six months of the clean-out. Clean-outs done without accompanying therapeutic intervention can pose a tremendous financial burden on individuals, families, government agencies, and communities; and
WHEREAS: Increasing public awareness of hoarding will benefit local government agencies, individuals and families affected by hoarding behavior, and communities across Minnesota.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARK DAYTON, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim the month of September, 2012 as:
HOARDING AWARENESS MONTH in the State of Minnesota.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota to be affixed at the State Capitol this 31st day of July.
(Signatures: Mark Dayton, Governor, and Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State)