Home > Code Enforcement, property maintenance > Woman Dies in Home, Hole Cut in Roof to Remove Her

Woman Dies in Home, Hole Cut in Roof to Remove Her

I recognize that hoarding cases can be extremely time consuming to deal with and difficult for a property maintenance inspector because the person the inspector is dealing with is not rational about the state of the inside of the residence but I don’t think that’s a reason to do nothing.  A woman died in her home in Skokie, IL and the only way to get her was to cut a hole in the roof in this story reported today.  http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=395161 I had a case last week where the defendant pleaded guilty (he doesn’t even live in the home anymore but stays in an extended stay hotel due to the condition of the house) and the judge ordered him to remove the rubbish within 30 days.  I had a picture of a dumpster on the property with just a small amount of items in it to show he hadn’t made much progress.  The defendant said he couldn’t possibly do it within 30 days because of his physical condition.  After quizzing him, the judge determined that he had the financial resources to hire someone to do it for him.  Then the defendant argued that that wasn’t possible because that person wouldn’t know what to keep and what to throw away.  The judge told him that he could do that by being the manager of the rubbish removal and he could give directions to the hired help.   The defendant still protested but we’ll see next month if progress has been made.

  1. Jerry
    July 20th, 2010 at 15:44 | #1

    In Illinois when dealing with an elderly hoarder it can be very helpful to contact the Illinois Dept. of Aging to report self-neglect which is now illegal for seniors in Illinois. The Illinois Dept. of Aging contracts with Catholic Charities in our area. Their social workers are a great resource and help out a lot in court. They are also some of the most caring professionals I’ve met.

  2. July 21st, 2010 at 06:59 | #2

    Thanks for a terrific suggestion.

  3. Bill Kronstedt
    July 21st, 2010 at 15:27 | #3

    The CNN news video indicated other people were living in the house and were removed and placed elsewhere. So there may be more than an aged woman with no one looking after her.

  4. July 21st, 2010 at 21:05 | #4

    Apparently she lived with a daughter who had some disability. I’ve found this is not unusual in hoarding cases to have an adult child with problems.

  5. Kelly Anbach
    July 26th, 2010 at 07:04 | #5

    Linda,
    Thank you for having this blog. I read the comment from Jerry and have already posted the information up on the IACE board. I got a call early today about a very bad case and was able to cite your blog and Jerry’s comment to help out a fellow Code Enforcement Officer. Perhaps this will save this elderly mans life.

    Linda – you are one great woman to work with.

  6. Linda Pieczynski
    July 26th, 2010 at 10:34 | #6

    It’s a team effort and I’m glad you’re on my team!

  7. Mick @VP
    July 28th, 2010 at 11:24 | #7

    I had a situation where the hoarder was the wife and her live-in sister who both died within a one year time period. The husband, who was going blind, was overwhelmed with the mess. We contacted several local churches who were able to assist with the clean up. As a note some of the labor was supplied by out of work teenagers for a small fee and drinks/snacks. Remember jobs for teenagers are scarce this summer so they may be an untapped labor force and this also gives them something to do.

  8. July 28th, 2010 at 12:39 | #8

    My biggest problem is getting people to accept help.

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