Published: 15:04, 10 April 2018
| Updated: 15:18, 10 April 2018
Hoarders who amass piles of rubbish in their homes are to be thrown a lifeline.
Sevenoaks council chiefs have awarded £40,000 to help those suffering from hoarding, which is now considered a mental illness.
It comes as staff release these shocking images of unmanageable amounts of clutter in people's homes.
Now hoarders will be offered a 12-week programme of one-to-one support from West Kent Mind, and given a "declutter buddy" to help organise their home.
The New Beginnings project will help 48 people with the disorder across the district.
A council spokesman said: "Hoarding is a disorder where someone acquires an excessive number of usually worthless items and stores them in a chaotic manner, resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter.
"It has only recently been recognises as a mental illness, with one or two people in every 100 affected."
The disorder can have a serious impact on sufferers' lives, with risks including fire, falling and conflict with neighbours.
It can also lead to health problems such as depression, physical illness, memory problems and alcohol and drug misuse.
Sevenoaks District Council cabinet member for housing and health, Cllr Michelle Lowe, said: "Supporting people with mental ill health is a major priority for Sevenoaks District Council."
She added: "We must not forget that helping hoarders also helps their family and friends who worry for their safety, as well as their neighbours who often suffer from anxiety about vermin and possible fires."
The average age of hoarders is 50.
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