Severe domestic squalor and hoarding

See below resources to support the resolution of incidents of severe domestic squalor and hoarding.

A Foot in the Door — SA Health Guideline

The SA Health Guideline 'A foot in the door - stepping towards solutions to resolve incidents of severe domestic squalor in South Australia (PDF 942KB) provides information to support local government environmental health officers to understand, assess and manage cases of severe domestic squalor in South Australia. The Guideline is supported by the South Australian Public Health (Severe Domestic Squalor) Policy 2013 (PDF 247KB) (Gazette 19 August 13 page 3856) which has been created under Section 53 of the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 (the Public Health Act). The Severe Domestic Squalor Assessment Scale (SDSAS) (PDF 143KB) has been developed to accompany the Guideline and  provides a framework for the identification of individual areas of concern in the dwelling. For more information see severe domestic squalor.


SA Health has developed a self guided presentation (PPT 1828KB) that:

  • summarises aspects of the 'Foot in the Door' Guideline
  • contains additional information on things to consider when resolving cases of severe domestic squalor
  • can be used as a training and induction resource.

External training resources

Medcast provide education direct to health professionals and services to organisations with the aim to improve the standard of healthcare across Australia.

Catholic Community Services - A range of information including on line learning, presentations, webinars, publications and supporting information are available on the webpage.

Metropolitan Fire Service - ‘Home Fire Safety and Hoarding - through a firefighter’s eyes’ training presentation is designed for professionals working in the community.

The MFS provide training to organisations free of charge which covers a range of subjects including:

  • Early warning with smoke alarms;
  • Clear access and egress for quick action;
  • Elimination or reduction of ignition sources;
  • Fuel load management.

MFS have a program to assist in working with people that hoard called the ‘People And Their Hoarding’ (PATH) Program. The PATH Program aims to reduce the risk of fires in the homes of people that hoard. The MFS can provide a fire risk assessment tool, the Hoarding Fire Risk Scale (HFRS) that, when completed, can give an indication of the overall fire risk a person is living with.

Useful resources

Australian Government Department of Health

Government of South Australia

Victorian State Government

Links to support services

Severe domestic squalor is generally symptomatic of an underlying illness or condition, the identification and management of which can significantly improve the effectiveness of interventions aimed at remediating the squalor. Forming and sustaining local relationships between agencies and service providers is critical in the management of severe domestic squalor and optimising outcomes for the people affected by this complex issue.

South Australian agencies are encouraged to work cooperatively and collaboratively when working towards resolving cases of severe domestic squalor.

  • Adelaide Benevolent Society  is a charitable social enterprise that provides affordable rental housing and financial assistance to South Australians in need.
  • Advocacy for Disability Access and Inclusion Inc – provides advocacy support for a person living with disability to have a voice in decisions that affect his/her life and support for family members who need to speak on behalf of the family member living with disability.
  • Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) offers a free, confidential and state-wide service to older people, or their legal representatives, who are living in residential aged care or retirement village, receiving Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or Home Care Package (HCP) services, or, at risk of, or experiencing abuse from family or friends.
  • Baptcare  - provides care to people in Residential Aged Care, Retirement Living, In Home Care, Family and Children Services, Affordable Housing and Disability Services.
  • Baptist Care - provides out of home care, disability care, youth education and employment, homelessness and therapeutic support services.
  • Beyond Blue - provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
  • Catalyst Foundation - provide inclusive, timely and enabling self-advocacy, services and programs to older, vulnerable people and people with disability, their family, friends and carers.
  • Centacare - Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.
  • Hutt Street Centre  - Services including training, recreational activities, employment programs, legal aid and finding housing for those experiencing or facing homelessness.
  • Southern Wellbeing Hub - Counselling and mental health support across Central and Southern Adelaide.
  • Lived Experience Telephone Support Service - The LETSS support workers will provide non-clinical mental health support which helps people in times of distress, offers an alternative to attending emergency departments, and assists with access to appropriate in-hours services provided by state, Commonwealth or non-governmental organisations.
  • Louisa de Costa Foundation - provides financial assistance for both unplanned illnesses and also for life long illnesses where Government support is not available.
  • Mental Health Coalition of South Australia - is the peak body for the non-government mental health sector in South Australia.
  • Mind Australia - offers specialised psychosocial support services. 
  • Mind - Country Wellness Connections – Non NDIS participants in the Riverland region
  • NDIS Local Area Co-ordinators - locates partners that provide services in local government areas.
  • NEAMI National - a community-based organisation providing services to improve mental health and wellbeing in local communities.
  • OARS - is a non-government crime prevention agency based in Adelaide South Australia providing a gateway service for clients who may be in imminent need or are homeless.
  • One Voice - offers people a safe place to shower, shave, brush their teeth, connect with other support services and restore dignity in their lives.
  • Relationships Australia South Australia - provide services which assist people who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, with a particular focus on those who are:
    • financially disadvantaged and are unable to access other services;
    • living with complex life situations;
    • affected by past experiences or health conditions which have an impact on their lives.
  • RSPCA - member Societies care for animals across Australia, by rehoming neglected and unwanted animals through their shelters and by educating the community about responsible pet ownership.
  • South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal - helps people in South Australia resolve issues within specific areas of law, either through agreement at a conference or through a decision of the Tribunal at a hearing.
  • Skylight Mental Health - offer a range of services for people who experience mental illness and for their family and friends who care for them.
  • Skylight - Country Wellness Connections – Non NDIS participants in the Murraylands/Limestone Coast regions
  • Sonder  - provides support with mental health, alcohol and drug concerns, chronic disease management and employment.
  • Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service  - provides services to address a range of physical, psychological and social needs for survivors of torture and trauma.
  • RentRight SA - work with people to have a stable home, a sense of home and to feel safe at home.
  • Wesley Social Enterprises Inc. -is a not for profit Australian Disability Enterprise that provides employment for people who live with a disability.
  • Wyatt Trust - is a leading philanthropic foundation providing opportunities to South Australians experiencing hardship.

Additional relevant legislative tools

In some instances, it may be relevant to refer to legislation other than the Public Health Act.