A Maroondah City Council program supporting people affected by hoarding behaviour has been named the most Outstanding Program or Project (non-grant based) at the recent 2019 Local Government Professional (LGPro) Awards for Excellence.
Council received the 2019 LGPro Active Ageing and Wellbeing Award ‘Outstanding Program or Project (non-grant based)’ for the Buried in Treasures support program.
The award was presented at the LGPro Active Ageing & Wellbeing Awards and conference dinner held on Thursday 12 September at the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Buried in Treasures was developed by Maroondah City Council to offer support to people with hoarding and compulsive-acquiring behaviours to make a change (based on a prescribed program developed in the USA).
A partnership between Council, and Tenancy Plus – Uniting supported by SalvoCare East, the program consists of 16 weekly sessions surrounding awareness, understanding, discarding and maintaining success for those affected by hoarding and squalor.
Maroondah Mayor Cr Rob Steane said the award was testament to the work carried out by Council’s Aged and Disability Services team to address what was an often complex and sensitive issue.
“The program sees participants come together in a small group and highly structured 16-week support and education setting, to discover more about themselves as well as learn the strategies to make any changes necessary to their hoarding behaviour and environment,” Cr Steane said.
“Hoarding is a complex mental health issue and it can often be hard for individuals affected or their families to find the help they need. The Buried in Treasures program is a wonderful initiative designed to support those living with clutter and hoarding tendencies, and I congratulate all those involved and our team for receiving this recognition at the recent LGPro Awards,” he said.
In May 2018, Council joined forces with local health experts, social services agencies and MFB Victoria in launching the Maroondah Hoarding and Squalor Network (MHSN) website
The website was developed as a practical resource to assist and guide service providers to respond to and support clients with hoarding behaviour or for people living in squalid conditions.
“We know that there is no easy answer to address hoarding and squalor in the community but it is widely acknowledged that bringing agencies together to support the client is the most effective approach,” Cr Steane said.
The MHSN provides a forum for local agencies and community groups to share skills, knowledge and experience when dealing with the often complex and sensitive issues surround hoarding and/or squalor.
Council’s Aged and Disability Services team has also achieved recent success, including:
- transition of 1800 clients to Calvary as part of the introduction of the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
- the transition of 85 PYP (Program for Young People) clients to mecwacare
- the launch of the Good Food for Me seminar assisting seniors to eat well, preparing meals independently and on a budget
- the Walking Football Program
- Council’s submission to the Mental Health Royal Commission
- World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities.