Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The real story behind the so-called Lower East Side hoarder

On Sunday night, we posted the video that a contractor working at an undisclosed building created showing the cockroach-filled apartment that he and his crew had to clean following the eviction of the resident.

"Whatever you've seen, you've never seen nothing like this," the contractor, Martin Fernandez, says in the video that was posted on multiple news sites. Fernandez never mentioned the actual address, saying only that the building was on the Lower East Side. However, the First Avenue location of the Bean is visible in one of the scenes, causing several readers who shared this video to think this building was in the East Village.

An EVG reader, who lives in the building where this took place, shared the following letter to provide more background on what transpired ...


I live in the building in which this now-former tenant’s apartment is located. First, I can confirm that the apartment was definitely not staged, and that it is, indeed, in the East Village.

I must admit, as awful as it has been over the past couple of years living in the building where this person lived (though I and that tenant have each lived there for about 15 years), it’s a bit painful to see this described simply as the situation of a “hoarder.” That’s not at all to criticize EV Grieve, because I’m sure that is the only context in which it was presented to him. I just hope to add a little context before too many people comment without, understandably, knowing more about the situation.


As Martin, the contractor, noted, the tenant was not always living this way. We are a pretty closely knit bunch in this building, due to our occasional battles with our landlord ... and while most of us weren’t close friends with the tenant, we knew him for many years as maybe a bit eccentric (as most of us living here could probably be described as well), but as a good neighbor and not someone anyone would imagine ending up in this kind of situation.

Sadly, over the past two years, we all witnessed his mental and physical health decline for reasons that should remain private. We tried, individually and as a group, to intervene, but it quickly became clear here was not willing or able to accept our offers to help, which was frustrating both because of the declining conditions in the building, and because it is painful to watch someone go through what he was going through.

Let me be clear: it’s been pretty hellish living here for the last couple of years. While none of us had seen the full extent of the decay in his apartment until now, we have all been dealing with the effects. Those roaches invaded every apartment in the building and, while not nearly as numerous as they were in his, it’s been nearly impossible for any of us to cook or keep food for over a year now, and it’s a very defeating feeling to know that no matter how much one cleans, there will always be more roaches arriving from the source. Living in an old tenement building, we’ve certainly learned to expect the occasional rodent or critter of some sort, but this was clearly on a scale that made the building next to unlivable.


As I mentioned, we’ve been through battles with our landlord over the past couple of years (and came out on top thus far, thankfully), and he was well aware of the situation. While I’d love to blame him for not addressing the issue, I do know that he attempted to do so, sending multiple exterminators upon our request over the past couple years, all of whom left when the tenant cursed at them and would not let them into his apartment.

As I understand it, the landlord bought out his lease nearly a year ago, but he did not leave after accepting the buyout. Eviction proceedings followed.

It was a difficult situation for everyone, because clearly the tenant’s living situation was a threat to his own health and that of everyone in the building, and we certainly knew this couldn’t continue. On the other hand, we were conscious of his poor health and limited resources, and I don’t believe anyone wanted him end up living on the street. The courts apparently agreed, as they stayed his eviction for many months due to his health. And so, at something of a stalemate with our desire for a decent place to live and our consciences, the situation dragged on.

Last week, he was finally evicted and, as I understand it, he has moved into another building in the neighborhood, where I can’t imagine he or his new neighbors will be any better off than we were.

As for our building, as you can see, contractors immediately moved in to attempt to clean out his apartment, and clearly it is not a pleasant task. And it will surely be some time before we can fully eradicate the roaches from the building – though we will certainly hold our landlord to doing so as quickly as possible.

I suppose this is all a very long way of saying that it’s been a very rough couple of years, and it would sure be convenient if there was was one person to hold to blame, or to simply call the tenant a hoarder and put him on a reality show, or just call the landlord an asshole, or even to say that we (or his closer friends/family) should have done more, but maybe the lesson in the end is just that illness – mental and physical — really fucking sucks. And while none of us were able to help him address what he was going through, and maybe no one could, I just wish there were better options than watching this happen or getting him kicked out onto the street.

This video and the images of the apartment are out there now, and as we all know there’s no way of retracting them. And I don’t blame people for sharing them now that they’ve become public – I understand there’s a natural fascination with these kinds of graphic images, particularly in a city where we all may wonder from time to time what lies behind our neighbors’ doors. But wonder as we may, we do not generally step through those doors uninvited.

Our former neighbor never gave consent for his very private struggle to be held up to public view and inevitable ridicule, and it’s disappointing and saddening to me that Martin felt the need to offer them to the press. What purpose could it serve? The fact that he has left comments on the article at several news outlets asking people to subscribe to his YouTube channel and promising additional videos may provide the answer. Or perhaps he genuinely felt the need share an experience that he found traumatic as his own way of coping.

Whatever the case, I sincerely hope that he will reconsider posting whatever additional videos/photos he may have. And if he cannot resist doing so, I hope that this backstory will at least allow those who read it to view those images through the lens that we, his neighbors, have viewed them: certainly with disgust at the conditions, but also with an understanding that what we are witnessing is a glimpse into the very personal struggles of a person who, just a few years ago, was laughing with us at parties and showing off, with great pride, the furniture he custom built in his apartment.

For now, I can hope for nothing more than that he gets the help he needs and deserves, that we get to return to the decent living conditions we deserve, and that his new neighbors somehow avoid experiencing what we have endured over these past couple of years. And I hope that if our old neighbor is reading this, he knows that despite our frustrations with him over the years, we know his life is more than the images coming out of his apartment, and we wish him health and happier days ahead.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seems like the tenant was a human being and a nice enough guy before the "hoarding" began. BUT seems he imposed very unsafe conditions on the other tenants and the landlord for 2 years. Not just unsafe, but unhealthy and intolerable for some and it must have physically and psychologically hurt a lot of the other tenants. There seems no legal way to control this kind of situation if the tenant's actions make everyone else to go down with the ship with him. So I got no sympathy for the hoarding tenant. There should be a faster legal way to kick him out of the building.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly thoughtful letter, thank you so much to the reader for sharing and you, EV Grieve, for posting.

Anonymous said...

I hope the silver lining with this story will be lower rent or maintained rent.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what I hate about "documentary" film... still a form of fiction in the end in which you simply feel manipulated. Imagine that film had it been made by the author of the letter.

Anonymous said...

A lovely, considerate letter - and a good reminder that New York City is filled with good neighbors.

dwg said...

An excellent and thoughtful letter, filled with care and understanding.

Anonymous said...

This compassionate and candid note makes me so proud to be a New Yorker. Thank you for trying to help and for being honest about your adversarial landlord's attempts to help, too.

Anonymous said...

I lived in an East Village tenement one floor below a man who lived like this guy. It was hell for nearly 20 years. Whatever causes someone to live like this, it isn't fair that everyone else in the building has to deal with the fallout. We also had a severe roach infestation and lived in fear of the fire hazard his apartment became. There was the stink, too. Maybe exposing these situations through video will make the authorities aware that these people need to be evicted if they aren't willing to get help. Letting one person do this to a building full of other human beings isn't fair. Our guy also had a never ending parade of adopted cats that lived and died in his filth. I feel awful for the unsuspecting residents of the building the man described here moved to.

Anonymous said...

Had the writer made such a film,it most likely would have been a thoughtful & respectful look back on a life which was,at one time,bright and creative...Perhaps even happy....

sophocles said...

Old school letter (except for the lone curse), that you don't see much of anymore. It's impossible to read this letter and not think about the bigger picture. Thank you letter writer.

Susan said...

Beautifully written and compassionate letter and definitely brings new perspective to a very difficult situation. Thank you so much for writing and posting.

Anonymous said...

I say clean that apartment from top to bottom and let him stay on the condition he agrees to a quick scheduled not random/surprise monthly check in (in and out of the apartment inside of two minutes) so he doesn't hoard again.
He also has the option to have someone live with him to make sure he doesn't hoard again either. Obviously he wasn't doing what he was doing maliciously.
Or is it too late because he's out? I didn't read the letter (too long for what I have to do today, and that's just me.)

Gojira said...

Thank you both for sharing this behind-the-scenes glimpse at the prosaic, rather than sensationalist, story of a life gone off the tracks. My dad was an extreme hoarder, and it fell to me to clean out his jam-packed, three bedroom, full basement and attic house in the suburbs when he got moved to assisted living. It took three months of daily labor, because I had to go through all the crap he had accumulated to find the few family treasures he possessed that I wanted to save from the dumpsters, and the knowledge that this had happened to my father, the loving man who had held a great job, raised a family, took me to the carousel in Forest Park, Queens or sat me on his knee and read to me at bedtime when I was a little girl, walked me down the aisle when I got married, was beyond painful. We can gape at the spectacle left behind when something like this gets exposed, and say we could never, ever be like that, never live like that, but I would have said the same of my dad, and I cannot imagine, if he was comfortable in a living situation like the one we took him out of, what living in his mind was like. I hope this person gets the help he so desperately needs, although I know the extreme difficulties - my dad did not see his hoarding as a problem, and refused to get any kind of help, which is why we finally had to physically remove him from the house - and that the building is cleaned up soon so the tenants can get back to some kind of normal existence. Again, thank you for providing a look at the other side of the coin, and shame on that exploitative huckster who is trying to boost his social media status on the back of this troubled individual.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the person who wrote this letter or any of his neighbors helping the super and the other worker clean up this mess. I don't blame the super for making this video and exposing the shit working people have to deal with. The supers are the ones left to clean up, putting their own health and safety at risk, after the offender is gone, off to live in his new apartment with the money he got from taking a buyout.

Goldie said...

I really appreciate this letter. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this compassionate letter. I live in an EV building with a hoarder apartment. It has been very sad to see the decline of those tenants. Once you see what age, bad health, mental illness and isolation can do to people you realize how easy it would be to get to this point given the right conditions, particularly when there is no strong social support system. There are nonprofits that help with hoarders, such as the Educational Alliance. Those dealing with hoarders, family, neighbors or friends, can also get in touch with local nonprofits such as Cooper Square Committee or GOLES, which will help then deal with the hoarders and will even clean the apartment when needed.

Anonymous said...

Most tolerant neighbor ever I'd say. I've been dealing with a hoarder neighbor for nearly a decade and it's the ABSOLUTE WORST. I know the consensus on this blog is that landlords are evil but this guy accepted a buy-out and then refused to leave, what an dick move. I'm sure there were ordered welfare checks if this dragged on for as long as it did, and I'm also assuming he was found capable of living alone. People that suffer from this affliction shouldn't live in apartment buildings.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet letter, how kind - Thank You !

Anonymous said...

I appreciate being able to hear from someone who lived in the building with this man, and even more because the writer is compassionate and clear in describing the situation.

I hope the person who was evicted will, somehow, get help in his new home.

And I'm glad to know that articulate & caring people still populate this neck of the woods, b/c I know waaaay too many stare-at-the-phone people who couldn't write so thoughtfully & coherently about the complexities described here (b/c it takes sustained attention and it wouldn't fit in a text).

Wishing the best to all who are involved in this unhappy situation.

Deb said...

Having lived through the same situation in our building with an elderly neighbor for over 20 years, yes, 20 yes. And the conditions here were this bad, and sometimes even worse, for that long. I understand your deeply heart felt letter completely.

We also witnessed a very intelligent human being decline in physical and mental health after a tramatic experience. His mother who he lived with and cared for passed. He also suffered with a terrible OCD condition since childhood.

He grew up in our building and when having to be taken away by Beth Isreal social workers and the NYC Adult Protective services, he was almost 90.

Our previous landlord used his situation as harrassment to us. We have only 10 units here. He did NOTHING to help this individual to keep our building in a constant state of dealing with the garbage, roaches,rodents, stench, late night dragging in NYC trash containers from the street full of garbage into his apt. on the 2nd flr, keeping a bucket full of feces hanging out his window, there are many more conditions to tell of, in his plan to harass all of us out. We ended up going on a rent strike, where we won a long court battle, including NYS Supreme crt, and won a 6yr rent abatement with interest and our legal fees with interest.

We worked tirelessly with city agencies, street missions, Catholic agencies, who ever could help get help for him. And same situation, he would not let people in.

Saddest part is that just a pill or two a day could have helped him immensely with these types of conditions, but he just kept falling through the cracks of City agencies.

He was a WW2 vet, had 60K in savings, which was stolen by a street mission pastor on 14th St!, a law degree, and was very intelligent and personable once.

There are thousands of cases just like this all over the city. These are human beings just like ourselves. This could happen to any one of us who fell ill and could not receive or find the help needed for this type of disorder.

Anonymous said...

I believe posting this video was relevant, and while maybe not done in the best taste, it was, in fact, a real reaction to a really bad situation, unedited. Granted I wouldn't want someone seeing my apartment at its worst, there weren't any names or buildings specifically listed so I don't see the problem with putting the information out there.
I don't think anyone is blaming anyone specifically for this situation, as it's been well documented that there is always something else personal that triggers this kind of giving up behavior. I am glad it was posted and also that this letter was posted to follow up. Sometimes the best thing in this situation is eviction... maybe another trigger to snap out of the behavior if possible. If nothing else it makes me more willing to check on my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, EV, for posting this terrific essay, and to the writer for beginning the discussion.

I live in a large building on the cusp of the East Village. This year, one of its longest-tenured renters moved after close to 60 years. It was sad watching her deteriorate. Sure, she was the building eccentric, maybe even a busy-body at times, but she was old-school and colorful.

While it was difficult to detect the precise transition from quirkiness to dementia, the effects were plain: riding the elevators, she would wander aimlessly, rummage through garbage, and appear increasingly soiled. Her apartment underwent multiple bedbug infestations, and distasteful elements that rivaled the filmed instance.

Even before the precipice, people tried to help: the landlord, the city, and social workers all got shown the door. And she had the law on her side, so she effectively was allowed to remain, and protected from everything but her decline. So the problems compounded.

The irony is that she is a woman with considerable wealth, whose rent was always paid (by an out-of-state party), and had pocket change for this and that. My guess is she could have been kicking it in a nice Florida beach cottage with help, clean clothes, and fresh-squeezed juice. But that ship sailed five or seven or ten or 20 years ago. Instead, she became lost in her own sea. It was a toxic situation.

Finally, an infection required hospitalization, after which she went to skilled nursing, and now resides, we believe, in an old folks' home (our chief doorman, the mensch that he is, visited her a few times, before she moved and the trail went cold). As far as I know someone is still paying her rent.

With aging populations and outdated public policy, stories like these will become more common.

Anonymous said...

Thats a nice letter but it misses an important point. Hoarding is a mental illness, but what makes it different from most other mental illnesses is is that it puts both the hoarder and their neighbors at risk. The fire hazards created by storing huge amounts of paper and old flammable belongings cannot be nersestimated, not to mention the roaches, bedbugs, mold and vermin that follow. Arsonists also have a mental affliction, but we don't tolerate them the way we do hoarders, mostly because the damage an arsonist can do is more dramatic and immediate. The damage a hoarder does takes more time to set in, but they can affect just as many people as an arsonist. It's time for society to treat this problem with the seriousness it deserves, especially since there are many more hoarders than serial arsonist s out there.

Anonymous said...

Did any of the neighbors know he had a cat? Did anyone report the dead cat to the animal welfare officers at the ASPCA? While you can have empathy for the guy, he shouldn't get away with having a dead cat under his mattress as you see in the video. So many animals get caught up and abused in these hoarder situations. This man should be identified to the local shelters so he can adopt animals, and the neighbors in the new building should be made aware of his history in case they see him get a pet. If this was a dog lying dead under the bed, people would be freaking out, but for some reason, he gets a free pass because it was a cat.

Anonymous said...

very great letter, thank you for it!!!

Anonymous said...

Such an empathetic perspective. We need more of this in the world.

Anonymous said...

Perfect example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. While the video may qualify as being of poor taste, the result is that people are talking about an issue that wouldn't have been otherwise discussed. And thank you for the letter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your letter, both compassionate and truthful. While not minimizing this man's problems or how they affected others, it also reminds people that at the end of the day, there's a human being at the center of all this. My brother and I went through dealing with my father's hoarding and filth (heavy alcoholic), and every time we went to the building to try to clean things up, some poor neighbor would speak to us and ask us, could we please, please do something? As your letter explained so well, when someone is refusing to look after themselves, refusing help, refusing anything that would improve the situation, there is only so much you can do. And he lived in a condo, so he could not be evicted. It only got better when we were finally able to move him into a nursing home. I hope your friend does get the help he needs, but I hope more that you and your fellow tenants can get your lives back to normal. It's an awful situation to be in.

Shawn G. Chittle said...

This letter is why this neighborhood and its people - are the best in New York City. I'm so proud of you, letter writer.

marjorie said...

What a thoughtful, humane letter -- thank you for writing it (and thanks, Grieve, for publishing it).

You folks who are full of venom at the hoarder...yes, that apartment was gross, and yes, it was a danger, and yes, hoarding affects everyone in a shared building. No one disputes this. But how does one actually handle it when the person can't see that they have a problem, refuses help, hunkers down? These are symptoms of the mental illness that causes hoarding in the first place. If the person won't open their door to sympathetic neighbors, mental-health professionals, exterminators, the super, the landlord, marshals, EMS workers, etc., what can one DO?? And how agonizing to see someone deteriorate mentally and emotionally and not be able to help, and not be able to convince them to see the problem.

The TV show Hoarders liked to pretend that hoarding was treatable. No. Most people relapse. AND they wind up furious at the family members (who this guy clearly didn't have in the picture anyway) who want to help. The family clears out the apartment or house when the person is hospitalized, and they come home in a rage and start hoarding again.

It is never bad to try to see someone's humanity, even when they behave horridly. And it is terrible to exploit sick people. Thank you, letter-writer.

Isolde said...

Thank you for writing this letter, and thank you Grieve for publishing it. I'm so glad to know that this sort of clear-eyed compassion is out there. We need more humans like you in this world.

Sarah said...

Excellent letter.

No one is saying that the neighbors didn't suffer (obviously, the letter-writer did!) or that action didn't need to be taken (as many people in the situation were trying to arrange). Just that the person was clearly a very ill fellow-human, and doesn't deserve to be mocked or gawked at. Obviously, a very frustrating and difficult situation for all involved, but no one has to forfeit their humanity here.

Anonymous said...

It is a lovely, thoughtful letter, but I am not so sympathetic. I'm with the other commenter who mentioned the cat. That broke my heart, imagining the suffering it must have experienced before it finally died alone in a sea of cockroaches under the bed of some self-involved nutbag who couldn't be bothered to take care of it. This person had somewhat of a choice to live in filth and torture his neighbors with it. The cat did not. And since that super was stuck cleaning up that mess at risk to his own health, he has every right to document and post his process.

takicat said...

Thank you for this letter.

Anonymous said...

There is a real selfishness at play when this man could let a cat die under his bed. It is animal abuse, and it is not acceptable. The man who tossed a dog from a car in Montclair the other day is being called a monster, and people are brushing this hoarder's actions under the carpet. It's not okay. I agree he is a sick person, and he shouldn't get away with killing this cat.

Anonymous said...

@11:40am: You wrote "The fire hazards created by storing huge amounts of paper and old flammable belongings cannot be nersestimated"

Why do you think only the sort of hoarder written about here is a fire risk? How about all of us who love books & have hundreds or even thousands of books in our apartments?

Should we legislate against books, or against people owning more than one or two books at a time? At what point does someone's personal library turn that person into a dangerous "hoarder" who is harboring "huge amounts" of flammable materials according to your definition?

Same issue with fabrics, which are also flammable. Do those who sew as a hobby and keep quantities of fabrics around eventually get called a "hoarder" too?

Do we just need to live in apartments with no upholstery, no rugs or carpets, no curtains, no pillows, no mattresses, sheets, towels, etc? Everything must be rated fire-proof? Because by your definition, almost everyone living indoors is a danger to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

As much as everyone wants to say that the this guy wrote was so nice and thank EV for posting it. I will call bullshit. Yes his life was going down hill and yes some of the tenants did talk and some got along but everyone hated this tenant after his life spiraled down. Not one good thing was said and everyone was dying for him to be gone. Some even ridiculed him and now this 1 tenant wants to criticize the contractor for posting a video, call it bad taste and poke fun of his YouTube channel. I see a man who is trying to write a sweet letter of lies and of course leave it to EV to post lies. I have not had many chances to speak to Martin but one thing I do know is that he does not do anything in poor taste. He did not make fun or name anyone. I just see a guy making a video of his work. And here we have many people loving lies. The letter is pretty and though most should be things that should happen in a perfect world. But it's a lie

Unknown said...

I think one solution is for the city to assign buildings just for hoarders and care for them. That way us, neighbors, don't have to suffer. I live with one in my building. Bed bugs infestation galore.

Anonymous said...

Compassion; difficult and important to keep practicing.
Sorry for your struggles. You seem like a good Neighbor.

Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky said...

How heartening that this neighbor took the time to provide a more nuanced, human take on this story, taking care to see things from all sides. The embodiment of neighborliness, and good manners. And Good on you, EV, for sharing it with your readers.

Neal Hagstrom said...

This letter is one of the most compelling and moving posts i have ever read in the E.V. Grieve.It deserves wide circulation.

Mike said...

Agree 100% with all who mentioned the poor cat. Let yourself rot, illness or not, but that cat probably agonized before it finally died.

Anonymous said...

Agreed

Anonymous said...

There needs to be some compassion for the other tenants and the Landlord for putting up with this guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for both of these posts. I've lived in full view of the apartment in question, and despite the various non-empty food containers sitting on the fire escape for months, had no idea the extent of what was going on in there. The myriad pest problems in these apartments have a lot to do with the age and terrible maintenance level of the buildings, although it's nice to know that some improvement might be possible now and that the landlord is not actually oblivious to the conditions (which I sort of suspected last time my rent went up...)

The memory of a cute cat sitting out on that fire escape maybe a year ago is now permanently branded onto my brain D:

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to respond to the person (July 18, 2017 at 7:43 PM) who is trying to rationalize that hoarding is not a fire hazard. It is not so much an issue of flammability, but that access to the apartment is blocked. We had a hoarder in our tenement building in the late 1980s who had an electrical fire in the middle of the night. His apartment was one solid mass of trash. The fire consumed his apartment and damage was done to the surrounding apartments. The firefighters said because all egresses to his apartment were blocked it made it very difficult to fight the fire.

Anonymous said...

Let's stop denying the facts: Hoarders create a dangerous problem for themselves and other living things. Many hoarders also hoard animals, sometimes hundreds of them, whcih end up being neglected and living in squalor. But hoarders are human beings who also deserve to be treated with respect. The problem is that they have proerty rights and leases which they are abusing due to their mental illness. The law protects them even when their hoarding creates a danger to other people's lives. That is where the law and society is falling short, We allow these conditions to persist for years before they can be rectified. A hoarder has to practically become mentally incompetent or physically unable to survive before anyone can step in.

We have many hoarders in out building, and one of them just went to the hospital with broken bones from a stack of her belongings falling on her. She came home after a month in rehab, and found that her relatives had cleared the junk out her apartment. They had also gone to great expense to eradicate the bedbugs and rooaches. So now she has filed a police report and wants to have her relatives arrested for stealing the junk that put her in the hospital, the junk that might well have killed her, and which posed a hazard to all her neighbors. Hoarders only see their own needs, that is part of their illness, but we need better laws to protect the rest of us from them, and to protect them from themselves. .

Anonymous said...

Yes, compassion us one thing, but this tenant caused an infestation of roaches and other pests harming other tenants.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be anti-hoarding provisions added to leases. As well as city laws passed allowing forced removal of junk after fire department inspection.

C Merry said...

Thank you for this beautifully written post. My mother and one of my brothers is a hoarder, a friend of mine grew up in hoarder conditions, I myself am a pack rat, I have way too many art books and textiles but they are at least organized on shelves. The difference between me and those I know who are full on hoarders is mental illness, lost dreams and abuse of their humanity to be poetic but NO ONE DOES THIS BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT. There is something wrong with someone who loses control. Like any illness and addiction they need help not ridicule. Thank you for your post- this I hope helps people understand this better and be compassionate.

Anonymous said...

@8:47am: It's @7:43pm here, and in NO WAY did I try to "rationalize hoarding". I simply showed that the sentence "The fire hazards created by storing huge amounts of paper and old flammable belongings cannot be nersestimated" is, in fact, an extremely weak way to try to define "hoarding."

My remarks are true and accurate, and I'm sorry if my ability to think analytically is a problem for you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping us all remember the human behind the headline - incredibly heartfelt and honest perspective. Glad to have you in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a very compassionate person. You are a better neighbor than I would be considering, as you said, many people tried to help and the landlord actually bought him out rather then throwing him in the street and made attempts to send an exterminator and he would curse at them.

So there is a video posted and people make comments. Who cares! Your neighbor moved into a new apartment; he probably isn't listening to what people are saying. He needs treatment not enabling.

Anonymous said...

@4:33PM In fact, that is a very good definition of one of the consequences of hoarding. Your definition applies to collectors, not to hoarders. This is the American Psychiatric Association definition of hoarding. Maybe you should send them your definition if you think it's better than theirs:

"What Is Hoarding Disorder?

People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.

Hoarding is not the same as collecting. Collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them. People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly. In most cases, they save items that they feel they may need in the future, are valuable or have sentimental value. Some may also feel safer surrounded by the things they save.

Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 5 percent of the population and often leads to substantial distress and problems functioning.

Consequences

Hoarding disorder can cause problems in relationships, social and work activitives and other important areas of functioning. Potential consequences of serious hoarding include health and safety concerns, such as fire hazards, tripping hazards and health code violations. It can also lead to family strain and conflicts, isolation and loneliness, unwillingness to have anyone else enter the home and an inability to perform daily tasks such as cooking and bathing in the home."

Anonymous said...

I mean, I appreciate the nuanced look, and am shocked at the (grudging) acknowledgement that this wasn't all the landlords fault, but at the end of the day sympathy has to be limited.

Yes, hoarders and people with mental illness are human beings and deserve compassion. But that is when their affliction is occurring in a vacuum. This guy was outright endangering his fellow tenants, and even if he isn't entirely responsible for his actions due to his mental state, his fellow tenants deserve better than to have their health and well-being put at risk just because we're supposed to be compassionate. A mentally ill person who won't accept help, and who continues a dangerous action, forfeits their right to our sympathy. You wouldn't give a dementia patient a loaded gun and tell them to wander the streets; similarly, there should be an expedited eviction process for a person such as this man, for his own safety and those whose lives he is endangering