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Posted on Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Blight Beat: Ypsilanti Township seeks court help in cleanup of 2 hoarder houses with feces issues

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti Township is intervening at two homes they say were occupied by hoarders and “barely a square inch” of the floors is not covered with animal feces.

Officials said a 10-year old was living in one home, which hadn’t had running water in over a year and has no operating refrigerator.


Officials found unlivable conditions at 1034 Maplewood.

Cleanup has begun at one home, and Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge is being asked to order the abatement of the other at an emergency hearing today.

The two homes are at 1292 Clarita St. and 1034 Maplewood Ave.

Township Building Inspector Ron Fulton said the Maplewood home was brought to the township officials’ attention on July 23 because of its stench and rodent problem.

Upon inspection, officials found a woman in her late 20s living with her 10-year old daughter, three dogs and a cat.

Much of the floor was covered in animal feces. Because the water had been off for a year, the mother and daughter had been using the tub as a toilet, Fulton said.

Fulton said officials also found urine collected in milk jugs on the counter and used toilet tissue piled in the bathroom sink. The home has a severe rodent and insect infestation.

The dogs were removed by the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and the conditions were reported to Washtenaw County Child Protective Services.

A Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge ordered the mother and daughter and their family to cease all entry onto the property, Fulton said.

He said the home is owned by the mother’s parents, but the parents were never allowed to visit. Township officials weren’t sure what happened to the child after protective services was contacted.

Judge Timothy Connors ordered the township to hire a company to clear the property, and the township selected Belfor.


The interior of the Maplewood home.

Courtesy of Ypsilanti Township

Fulton said the company sent out an eight-member team, and several got physically ill during the cleanup process.

Township Attorney Doug Winters said the home will likely have to be demolished because of the damage.

Officials found similar conditions at the Clarita address.

Fulton said the township worked with the owners of that home to have it cleared of similar issues around 18 months ago.

Several animals also were living in the home and Fulton said neighbors again began complaining of the stench. Building inspectors found that the owners were allowing the animals to defecate inside the home and were throwing layers of newspaper on top of it.

The sub-flooring is rotting because it is so saturated in animal waste. The owners have at least one unregistered pit bull.

Photos from the home show garbage is piled several feet high on the kitchen counter, and clothes and garbage are strewn about the home, front porch and backyard. It also is infested with rodents, insects and mold.

Fulton said the residents did not give a reason as to why they let the home slip back into unsanitary conditions.

Winters said the homes are among the worst blight cases he has ever seen and said the township’s office of community standards seems to be encountering worse and worse situations.

“People call them hoarder houses, they get a little bit more - it’s filth and junk and blight,” he said. “There’s a difference in living with no refrigeration or running water from hoarding. This is a real serious issue and goes beyond that. It’s like living in a landfill in there. It’s just crazy.”



Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

I have a couple of questions. Who was the Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge that ordered the mother and daughter and their family to cease all entry onto the property ? "Judge Timothy Connors ordered the township to hire a company to clear the property, and the township selected Belfor." But remember what Judge Timothy Connors said at WCC about "the passed interested of children." "Township officials weren't sure what happened to the child after protective services was contacted" What a joke Judge Connors, so sad.

Barbara Allen

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Attorney Winters' statement, "There is a difference in living with no refrigeration or running water from hoarding..." is actually quite inaccurate. If your only reference point is hoarding as seen on television, that might be your opinion. However, for many of us who grew up in homes with a hoarder parent, the reality is that OFTEN there is no running water or broken appliances, such as the refrigerator. The hoarder is afraid to let anyone, which woud include repair people, into the home. My siblings and I didn't have a functional bathtub in our childhood home for most of our lives. There are other stories like ours, and like that of the 10 year old child in this story, that can be read at the Children of Hoarders website, You can also read an up close and personal account of my own experience living in a hoarder home in my book Nice Children Stolen from Car, available through Amazon and No child should be forced to live in squalor of this kind.

martini man

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 12:32 a.m.

Why can't these filthy places just be declared public health hazards and dealt with promptly ???? All they need is for someone to catch some awful disease and then bring suit against the TWP. It seems like it takes months and even years to deal with these places.

Middle America

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

"If they are just moochers, who do not care if their kids sleep in filth and disease,then NO, I don't care what happens to those people." Correct me if I am wrong, but you have claimed to be a Christian in your previous comments, right?

martini man

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

If the inhabitants of these filthy places are mentally ill, I think they should be taken to places that handle people like that. If they are just moochers, who do not care if their kids sleep in filth and disease,then NO, I don't care what happens to those people. But the kids and the dogs and cats deserve better. Ypsi TWP ..tear down those homes !!!!

Middle America

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Do you care what happens to the people who once inhabited these homes, "martini man"?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Ypsi twp is doing something about it. We are tearing them down as quickly as they are discovered unless they can be salvaged. Again Habitat for Humanity is getting involved and is trying to do something about it. As for the mentally ill? I do hope they do get the help they so desperately need.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 11:42 p.m., what happened to the cat? Did HSHV take it, too? It's especially sad when children and "pets" are trapped in these horrific situations. :(


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

That place on Maplewood. There used to be a guy there that painted cars out of the garage.

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

why is it always have to be feces involved...?!?

Dutch Thomas

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

yes it is crazy as in these people are mentally ill and are now being criminalized and removed to the streets with only the pathetic support this country provides the mentally ill. Congratulations Blight Abatement YOU ARE PART OF THE HOMELESS PROBLEM. You assist banks in clearing properties so they can resell them. There are now 24 vacant homes for every homeless person in the united state of amerika. This is Crazy as in the usa is crazy.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Dutch, i agree. Mental health resources are abysmal. People are responsible for their own outcomes? Sane people are. Depending on the level of illness, putting mentally ill persons in charge of their own outcomes is pretty insane. And inhumane.

Robert Granville

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Criminalized? They're not facing criminal charges. Regardless of their mental illness, they cannot be allowed to put themselves, their children, their pets and the surrounding neighborhood in danger by turning their home into a landfill/sewer. Even though they may not be capable of caring for themselves, no one else is responsible for their actions or the consequences that come with those actions.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

Why do the addresses of these homes need to be published? Are we supposed to drive by and stare?

Robert Granville

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

If it's public record, it's going to be printed.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

What a shame. looks like this was, at one time anyway, a nice-looking little house. why do people do some of the things they do?

Basic Bob

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

@Tom Todd, that's what happens when all your neighbors buy foreign.

Tom Todd

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

No more walk into fords and make enough to feed your family have 2cars,2kids send them to college have a harley and a cabin with a boat.

Dutch Thomas

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

it is called Mental Illness and is a psycho-physiological and socio-cultural interaction that leads to people doing some of the things they do. the lack of support for the mentally ill in this country is barbaric. Insurance companies barely acknowledge most conditions let alone help pay for them.

Jack Campbell

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

This is just disgusting. It should be a crime to be this big of a slob.

Middle America

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

It should be a crime to be as judgmental as you seem to be.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Eliminating more "AFFORDABLE HOUSING". I guess we will have to do more building to make up for the lost! Come developers, let's build baby build!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

We will send them to your neighborhood. I see you love developers and builders. This way affordable housing is all yours. Bake sale anyone?


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

Thats all the city needs. More new houses that will be section 8 rentals or drug rehabs. I say tear them down and sell the lot to a neighbor or person who will sign a contract to build a home and live in it as a primary residence. Not to someone who watched one too many episodes of flip that house.

Tom Todd

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Welcome to the Great Recession!


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

even more disgusting if there's babies involved

Middle America

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

What are "come developers"?


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

I was dismayed when I lived in Ypsilanti city and the neighbors piled up trash, all you had to do was get it to the curb and it would get picked up. The mayor was more interested in spending a million on city hall and tearing down a block to build 'Zenith' than cleaning up blight and trash. I had to send photos in and make complaints before anything was finally done. Ypsilanti township government is to be commended for taking action, I don't want to live near an infested and trashed property.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

C'mon - Ypsilanti City Hall is about as modest as it can get - and was built around 1900. The mayor probably didn't know what your complaint was about because you seem to be complaining the city was picking up too much trash?


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

It sounds like the residents might be suffering from mental illness. They found the money to clean up the homes and probably even demolish them, yet there is'nt enough money to treat the illnesses.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

If the foundation is stable enough Habitat for Humanity can build a new home on top of that existing foundation. If not, then the whole thing will be destroyed. This is what was told to us during our last watch meeting. Good luck to the families.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

Lefty, i sincerely agree. Sure the neighbors shouldnt be subjected to this kind of wretchedness. But the blight residents need help. A bulldozer doesnt fix whatever's ailing them.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

I am glad they found the money to tear them down. You get stuck living next to something like that and tell me how you would help. I feel sorry for the people that had to live next to that. Can you imagine the smell????

Dutch Thomas

Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

you must have set off a real storm from the neocons with your silly question!!! good for you!!! all those deleted quotes are like badges....??


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

according to you shouldn't "god" be able to fix everything?