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Junk Afflicting Cities Across the Country

November 18th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

From excessive junk on property to hoarding, cities across the country are dealing with the problem of how to deal with residents’ excessive stuff.

In Arlington, MA, a hoarding response team made up of police, a mental health expert and the Health and Human Services department is helping hoarders clear their homes of junk before they suffer health and safety problems.

Excessive piles of household items and food and unclean conditions can attract bugs and rodents.

What started as part of a jail diversion program in June has since become focused on the broader problem of hoarding. The team has handled 16 cases so far, including that of a man who had no plumbing and didn’t know what to do about it because his apartment hadn’t been cleaned in two decades.

Chicago’s solution to junk? Fine people for it. The city, which is aiming to balance its budget in part by raising fees on a number of items, plans to raise nuisance fines to between $300 and $600, up from $250 to $500, for such violations as illegal garbage dumping, excessive junk and poor lot maintenance.

Los Angeles is facing the problem of homeless people’s possessions taking up space on the sidewalks of Skid Row, a 50-block area where mentally ill or addicted people sleep on the street and where everyday appliances and mattresses are piling up. Stuff started accumulating ever since a federal judge ordered the city four months ago to stop seizing property from Skid Row streets.

According to a recent newspaper article, one block alone was lined with 20 packed shopping carts.

Courts across the country have likewise ruled that the property of homeless people cannot be seized just because it’s on the street. But, Los Angeles has lost four lawsuits over property seizures since 1987.

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Thanks to LA Weekly for use of the images
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