According to the Fairfax County Hoarding Task Force, if you suspect a hoarding situation in your neighborhood, you should not attempt to solve the problem, such as by offering to clean up the house.

Instead, call Fairfax County's central hoarding number, 703-246-2300, TTY 703-591-6435. Or send an e-mail to rhtf@fairfaxcounty.gov.

If you think a family member might be a hoarder, the task force recommends that you seek professional help for the person or professional guidance for yourself in handling the situation. The hoarder might have a mental illness or a medical condition that needs evaluation and treatment.

Hoarders are usually unaware that their lifestyle is a problem and rarely seek treatment. Typically it is difficult to change the behavior without professional assistance. Consult a mental health or medical professional, or call the central hoarding number for recommendations and referrals.

Formed in 1998, the task force combines the resources of county agencies to provide a coordinated response to residential hoarding when it threatens life, safety and property.

A video on the task force can be viewed at http://166.94.9.135/cable/channel16/vod.htm.

SOURCE: Fairfax County Hoarding Task Force, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/trash/hoarding/suspect.htm

Fairfax County's Hoarding Task Force determined that this house, in the Falls Church area of the county, was uninhabitable.