Cleanup underway after neighbors complain about smells, cockroaches coming from Koreatown hoarder house

Local news

Piles of trash that have been building up for years around a Koreatown home were finally being removed by a crew of Los Angeles city workers Thursday.

Nearly six truckloads of debris had already been cleared from the home in the 100 block of South Harvard Street by 10:30 a.m., but most of the home’s driveway and front yard were still buried under an 8- to 10-foot-high wall of hoarded goods.

Leticia Ruiz and Mark Mendoza, who live in the neighborhood, said the junk surrounding the house gave off a terrible smell and attracted pests, including rats and cockroaches.

The man believed to be collecting the items, which included refrigerators, tables, mattresses, boxes, and yes, even a kitchen sink or two, lives in the home with his mother.

Neighbors said they had reservations about approaching the son because they were concerned about possible mental health issues.

L.A. based psychotherapist John Tsilimparis said hoarders can suffer from an attachment disorder.  

“The reason why they keep so much of it is because they have such fear of letting it go,” Tsilimparis said.

Often, he says, the best approach for the neighbor of a hoarder is to contact a family member or someone who knows the person.

The homeowner agreed to let city crews on the property to begin the cleanup Thursday. The entire process is expected to take several days.

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