The HASS (Hoarding, Advocacy Support Service) trial is an initiative of the ACT government Hoarding Case Management Group (HCMG), responsible for a whole-of-government approach to the management of complex hoarding and domestic squalor cases. The HASS trial is managed at Woden Community Service.

The key focus of the HASS trial

The key focus of the targeted HASS trial is working with and advocating for, specific clients to improve their particular hoarding circumstances and to provide effective liaison between the individuals, government regulators, government support services, community support services and natural supports.

Currently, this part of the trial is closed to outside referrals and only takes referrals directly from the Hoarding Case Management Group (HCMG).

HASS Evaluation

Research indicates that more than 2 in 100 people in the community might meet diagnostic criteria for Hoarding Disorder with a higher rate of people who have issues with hoarding and squalor (Nordsletten et al, 2013, Postlethwaite et al, 2019).  Severe hoarding and domestic squalor have profound impacts on the responsible individual, such as posing health and safety risks and impacting neighbours, including diminishing urban amenity and enjoyment of their home and property.

Recognising that severe and complex cases of hoarding and domestic squalor require the ongoing involvement of several agencies at any given time, an intensive case management model (the Hoarding Advocacy Support Service (HASS) implemented by Woden Community Service), was instigated by the ACT Government for a small number of severe hoarding and domestic squalor cases in the ACT.  HASS was initially trialled in 2019 for three months with an extension agreed to for a further 18 months.

Woden Community Service was funded to evaluate the HASS trial in 2020, and commissioned Professor Morag McArthur to undertake the evaluation.  The HASS Evaluation Report provides an overview of the implementation of the HASS trial, as well as an assessment of the effectiveness of the model for achieving the stated trial outcomes.

Groups for people struggling with hoarding

Woden Community Service, through the HASS trial, facilitates the following groups that assist people who are struggling with hoarding issues

Buried in Treasures (BIT)

Image of the Buried in Treasures workbook

Buried in Treasures is a 16-week group for people ready to actively work on their decluttering journey. The program focuses on understanding yourself and why the hoarding behaviour exists, before introducing tools to challenge and change these thoughts and behaviour patterns. The weekly sessions follow the book, Buried in Treasures 2ed – Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding by David Tolin, Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee.

We ask that potential participants attend an information session before committing to the group. If you are interested in being contacted when the next Buried in Treasures information session is scheduled, please leave your details in this form.

Family as Motivators (FAM) 

Family as Motivators is a 10-week group for people who are supporting a family member or friend who is struggling with hoarding issues. The goal of the program is to increase treatment-seeking behaviour in the person with hoarding issues, as well as to increase the wellbeing of family members and friends.

The program covers information about hoarding, tips on communication, what you can do to help and harm minimisation. We also stress the importance of looking after yourself while supporting your person.

Please complete our online form to register your interest. Our team will contact you once sessions become available.

Buried in Treasures Refresher Lectures – Currently not running 

The Buried in Treasures Refresher Lectures are a series of 5 lectures for people who have graduated from the Buried in Treasures program. They are designed to refresh the key concepts of the program and help people to get back on track with their decluttering journey. BIT graduates can attend the sessions they are most interested in. The topics are:

  • How did this happen?
  • Bad guys, good guys
  • Acquiring
  • Letting go
  • Keeping the momentum

Please note that the refresher lectures are not a substitute for attending the Buried in Treasures program.

Guidance and training

HASS staff are available to respond to enquiries and provide assistance and guidance to members of the public.

HASS is also able to provide training to organisations and their staff who would like to broaden their understanding of this issue and its impacts on the person and the community.

If you are interested in Hoarding and Squalor Training for Workers, please leave your details in this form or contact us directly.

Want to know more?

Please call Woden Community Service main reception on (02)6282 2644 or email if you require more information on any part of the HASS trial.


ACT Government logoThe HASS initiative has been funded by the Australian Capital Territory Government, with support from the Hoarding Case Management Group.

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