Jesse Edsell-Vetter Takes a Humane Approach to Hoarding

We would like to take a moment to congratulate Jesse Edsell-Vetter for recently being featured in The Boston Globe Magazine earlier this month! Jesse came to our office in late winter of 2014 and gave our nurses an engaging presentation about his program at The Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership and the work they do. Since then, they have been helping members of our community deal with hoarding and the issues they face as a result of their condition.

“With the help of…other specialists, Edsell-Vetter in 2006 launched a novel hoarding intervention program at Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership. Using cognitive behavioral therapy and intensive case management, he began working closely with people who were at risk of losing their rental vouchers, which are essentially government coupons that cover the majority of rent for low-income tenants. He built trusting relationships and probed their reasons for collecting. He delved into family history and trauma. He put on grubby clothes and helped them sort and discard enough clutter to satisfy inspectors. And then he committed to monitoring them afterward, to make sure they didn’t regress.

It was an entirely different strategy than the clean-up-or-else approach of the past, and its promise was clear right away: All of the people Edsell-Vetter worked with in a small pilot program avoided eviction. Since then, the successes have mounted. A January 2015 study found that 98 percent of the 175 Boston-area hoarders whom the program had helped from July 2011 through June 2014 had maintained their housing. The positive trend has continued in 2015 and 2016, Edsell-Vetter says.”

The work they have done to help people preserve their housing and stabilize their lives has set a shining example the rest of the country is lining up to follow. We congratulate Jesse on being recognized for all of his dedicated work and we will continue to proudly feature him and his program as a part of our Boston Community Resource Guide!

To read the full Boston Globe Magazine article, click here.

Jesse Edsell-Vetter has pioneered a humane approach in Boston to treating the problem that other cities are copying