Chesapeake, Va. - An extreme case of hoarding has caught the attention of a national TV reality show, and the City of Chesapeake is using it as an opportunity to help not only the homeowner, but her neighbors, too.
"I just got sick," said the owner, who spoke to NewsChannel 3 off camera on Wednesday just a day after the show wrapped up filming at her home.
It was an opportunity the City of Chesapeake got at a conference and took action to make happen.
"At this conference was a television show. They had asked us some questions about how we handle certain cases," King said. "They asked if we had any specific cases that we might be able to help with."
The city employees thought of one case they had been working on for about three months. King calls it a case of cluttering.
"Some of these cases, you smell it from several houses away, roaches and rodents moving around from one structure to other structures," King said.
NewsChannel 3 asked if this case had those types of infestation problems. "Some of those were, yes," added King.
King says not only does the show pay to clean the house, but it cleans up any violations of city codes and in turn helps both the city and the owner avoid a lengthy and pricey court process.
"That way the people can keep the house, stay in the house and also they don't have to end up with liens which may be placed on the house if the city has to go in and clean it," King said. "The organization will take on the expense of cleaning out the house with the owner's permission, provide them with counseling and a little bit of review for a year. It was a good opportunity."
Since the show hasn't aired yet, the city has asked us not to identify the owner. However, NewsChannel 3 spoke to the owner off camera and she says the clutter wouldn't have gotten so bad if she didn't get sick. She also told us she recently suffered a stroke.
"We want to be sensitive to the property owner," King said. "So we're not putting out the address and not putting out the specific people's names and locations for the TV show for that matter because they want to come back and help other people in the City of Chesapeake and we want to cooperate so they would do that."
King says they are already looking at more cases of cluttering to pitch to the show. No word on when this episode will air.