CHICOPEE, Mass (WGGB)- John Giera, from Chicopee, was forced to leave his home a year ago because of carbon monoxide, and today he still can’t go home. City health officials say it’s because of hoarding.
Giera explains that it all started when he purchased a rotisserie chicken, forgot about it, and bought another.
The junk, now piled from the roof to the basement, has taken over his life. 29 Stedman Street is now more of a storage facility.
“I still make my mortgage payments; that’s one thing you have to do or you lose it,” says Giera.
But it has driven him out of a home. Currently John sleeps at the Friends of the Homeless shelter in Springfield.
Psychiatrist, Dr. Stuart A. Anfang, of Baystate Medical Center says hoarding is more than just collecting- it is disorganized, cluttered, and over excessive.
“Hoarders are not able to interact with their family and they are not able to go to work. The degree of functional impairment is where hoarding becomes concerning,” explains Anfang.
Lisa Sanders from the Chicopee Health Department says it will easily cost thousands to clear out before he is able to move back in.
“I miss my home; I can’t tell you how much I miss it,” says Giera.
But experts say that in order for change to occur, the hoarder must realize the problem. “He/she has to be motivated to want to change, has to be willing to engage in treatment,” says Anfang.
Luckily John Giera is recovering and looking for help to move forward. “After it happens, you find out what you’ve been doing. You start to turn around. It’s like, I’m not going to do that again,” he says.