A new strategy has been introduced to help contend with an issue Windsor fire is calling a growing a trend, hoarding.

At a news conference Wednesday, Fire Chief Bruce Montone and several community partners announced the strategy. Montone says an increased trend of hoarding in homes and apartments has developed in Windsor, and can create several health risks.

“This is not an invasive strategy, and it’s not aimed to create new inspections, but it gives each agency a consistent means of dealing with the hoarding that they’re already finding when they’re out in the community,” says Montone.

Someone concerned about hoarding can now call 311. Once a call is made a form will be filled out, and Windsor fire will be contacted. Fire officials will then attend the residence and help the individual get in touch with the proper agencies to assist with awareness and clean-up.

These agencies include the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, City of Windsor building and social services, Windsor-Essex County Humane Society, Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, and victim services.

“The partners involved are all, in their own way, experts in the causes and effects of hoarding,” says Montone. “This behaviour can be a symptom of compromised mental health and can lead to further problems for the overall health of the people involved and their neighbourhoods. So, we’re taking a holistic approach and assembling a team that can see this problem from every angle.”

Montone says members with all of the previously stated agencies have struggled with hoarding encounters, and up to now, there hasn’t been a strategy to address each individual case.