International foundation awards local non-profit $685,000 for hoarding program

August 11, 2011


International foundation awards local non-profit $685,000 for hoarding program

BOSTON – The Oak Foundation, located in the United Kingdom, has provided Metropolitan
Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP) a grant to provide support to individuals in jeopardy of losing
their housing due to hoarding behaviors. MBHP, in partnership with Bay Cove Human Services,
will use the four-year, $685,666 grant for its ‘Hoarding Intervention and Tenancy Preservation
Project’. The project’s goal is to reduce evictions and prevent homelessness caused by hoarding.

Hoarding has been a hidden disorder for many years. Before the early 1990’s, there was little
research on hoarding. Since then, interest has increased dramatically both among researchers and
clinicians. Recent media coverage has increased awareness and interest among the general public,
family members and human service personnel who often deal with the problem. In the United
States, 3-5% of the population has a hoarding disorder and in Massachusetts, hoarding is a leading
cause of eviction.

The project will expand existing efforts by MBHP and Bay Cove’s Tenancy Preservation Project
through coordinating and promoting a multi-level approach to hoarding issues. Areas of focus will
include advanced education for key stakeholders including housing court personnel, state agencies
and other service providers; comprehensive direct service; and system change recommendations
that can be replicated and implemented in communities throughout the country.

The project seeks to:

  • Increase public and professional understand of hoarding.
  • Dispel myths that sensationalize the issue and stigmatize those suffering from the behavior.
  • Increase the number of professionals available to provide intervention both in the court system and in the community.
  • Influence public policy to result in resource allocation and institutionalized protocols that promote access to and availability of services.

The resulting comprehensive, resourced and knowledgeable system of care will benefit first
responders, court personnel, property owners and managers, service providers, other public
stakeholders, and residents in need.

First Justice of the Boston Housing Court, Honorable Jeffrey Winik, has been a long-term partner of
both agencies, and he sees first-hand the complexity of these cases and the importance of early
intervention to prevent eviction. Judge Winik states, “This funding will provide a significant
number of tenants with an opportunity to retain their homes. MBHP and Bay Cove have been in the forefront of community-based education and training for many years, and this new funding will
enhance their ability to carry out these important public education functions”.

MBHP and Bay Cove will expand services available to the criminal and civil cases that come before
the Boston Housing Court. The project aims to serve as many as 200 tenants during the first three
years of the initiative, plus another 30 in the fourth year. The goal is a 50 percent reduction in courtordered evictions due to hoarding, and an 85 percent reduction in non-court evictions due to

MBHP’s existing trainings and technical assistance will be expanded, with trainings for more than
425 stakeholders including first responders, court staff and housing inspectors. A best practices
manual will be developed, and in year four training and technical assistance will be expanded to
communities outside Massachusetts that are interested in adopting an effective harm-reduction

MBHP and Bay Cove staff will work with state-level policy-makers, increasing their awareness of
the project and encouraging the development and adoption of laws and policies that support best
practices in hoarding intervention.

For more information about the grant and the project, contact MBHP — Director of Client Services
Maura Pensak at (617) 425-6662 or or Assistant Director of Client
Services Kate Fulton at (617) 425-6650 or or Bay Cove Human Services —
MH Service Director Ruth Harel Garvey at (617) 610-9944 or


MBHP is the state’s largest regional provider of rental housing voucher assistance. We serve
homeless, elderly, disabled, and low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Our region
spans Boston and 29 surrounding communities: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Braintree Brookline,
Burlington, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton,
Newton, North Reading, Quincy, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Waltham,
Watertown, Wilmington, Winchester, Winthrop and Woburn.

Our mission is to ensure that the region’s low- and moderate-income individuals and families have
choice and mobility in finding and retaining decent affordable housing; all of our programs and
initiatives are designed to encourage housing stability, increase economic self-sufficiency, and
enhance quality of the lives of those we serve. To achieve our mission and to promote efficient
service delivery, we work collaboratively with a broad array of service providers and neighborhoodbased organizations. We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home.


Bay Cove Human Services provides residential, day, out-patient, and educational services to 14,000
people of all ages each year. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals and their
families as they face the challenges of developmental disabilities, aging, mental illness, and drug or
alcohol addiction. Founded in 1974, Bay Cove now offers a wide range of services to people with
the most severe, or even multiple, disabilities. Many of these individuals and families lack access to
any other kind of support.


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