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Prince William County Looks To Address Hoarding

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It's impossible to know exactly how many hoarders live in the county, according to Barbara McMillen, a senior property code inspector with the county's neighborhood services division. But national averages suggest the number could be more than 10,000.

Her office is getting an increasing number of legitimate reports about hoarding, McMillen says.

"We do notice a bit of an increase in cases called in than in the past," she says. "I think we're currently working seven active cases."

McMillen says the task force will also help code inspectors deal with aspects of hoarding they haven't been trained in.

"We're trying to do our job as code enforcement, but we also realize there's also a mental health issue that needs to be addressed that we don't quite know how to deal with, and that's one of the reasons we created the task force," says McMillen.

McMillen says hoarding sometimes puts the health or safety of the property owners at risk, and it's especially worrisome for first responders who could be in danger if a home's structure has been compromised by the weight of a hoarders' belongings.

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