UPDATE: Hoarding house not condemned with help from volunteers

By: WEAU Staff, Chris Baylor, with Photographer Duane Wolter Email
By: WEAU Staff, Chris Baylor, with Photographer Duane Wolter Email

EAU CLAIRE (WEAU) - A couple continues to get help cleaning up their home while they await another inspection from the health department.

Cindy Hazelton and Mike Nelson of Eau Claire were told by the Eau Claire City-County Health Department last week that, because of the condition of their home, they would have to move out if nothing was done to clean it up. On Monday, the department told WEAU 13 News the home hasn’t been condemned, and volunteers helped throughout the weekend, so the couple can stay in the home.

The health department also says that one of its workers told Mike Nelson that it would be in contact to set up another inspection, which could happen later this week or early next week.

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A couple who admits to hoarding says the Eau Claire City County Health Department gave them four months to clean up, and time is up at 4 Friday afternoon.

The couple says due to disabilities and lack of help, they haven't been able to clean the entire house and now they're worried the work they've done, isn't enough to keep living there.

"Yea I'm a pack rat I won’t deny it. Things just accumulated for a long time," says Cindy Hazelton.

For 22 years Hazelton and her partner Mike Nelson have lived in their home on Cedar Street in Eau Claire. Inside, the home is full of boxes, clothes, three dogs, seven cats and years worth of possessions. They say they know it's not clean but now they face having their home condemned after they say a neighbor told the health department about the conditions.

“Most of the stuff is already out. We've donated a lot, thrown out a lot. This is what's left. When we first started there were paths I won’t deny that, it was a mess," says Hazelton.

She says she's had some help cleaning up, but it hasn't been enough to get the whole house cleared out. She says she's worried that Friday all of her possessions will be thrown out by the city. We talked with several people from the Eau Claire Health Department who wouldn't comment on the case. However city code says a home can be condemned if it's found to be uninhabitable.

Hazelton says if they lose the house, Nelson might be able to stay with family but says she doesn't have anywhere else to live and will most likely end up in a homeless shelter.

"I don't know what else to do. I'm trying really hard to get it all done but I can't do it myself," says Hazelton.

According to the international OCD Foundation, five percent of the world's population displays clinical hoarding, 75% of hoarders engage in excessive buying and about half excessively acquire free items. The group says about 50% of hoarders grow up with a hoarding family member.

Click here for more information on hoarding


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