Experts weigh in on 'hoarding' issues in south Florida

Home of Palm Springs man is 'unlivable'

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. - Helping a hoarder is a very real concern of friends and family of a Palm Beach County man whose clutter literally forced him out of his own home. A friend of the man who lives in the Palm Springs home guided news cameras through the clutter accumulated by Les Carte.

Carte is now in the hospital away from from his home - at least for now.

Hoarding specialist Dr. Blanche Freund is also a licensed psychologist. "People just can't make decisions sometimes and so they don't," she said. When people do not decide to part with things - because of an emotional attachment - those things begin to pile up, she said.

"Anybody that wants to lend a hand, come on down and get my house cleaned up," said Carte from his hospital bed on Monday. Carte, who is obese, had to be hauled out of his home through a hole that fire rescue crews cut into the wall.

Dr. Freund believes this could be a turning point in Carte's life. "If he's saying to people that you can go in there and clear it out, that's a big step," she said.

She said it is not always clear what causes someone to hoard. It could be difference in the brain, a personality deficit, an emotional loss or social anxiety problems, among other things. Whatever it may be, she says it is very hard to break. "They have to maintain it, otherwise they can just go right back," said Freund.

Friends are lending a helping hand to clean up Carte's home before Wednesday deadline. The power has been turned off because of the situation inside and the never-ending list of code violations.

Carte could be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday. He said he was worried he will be homeless if the house is not cleaned up soon.