What should I do about the hoarder who lives in my apartment building? Things seem to be getting worse.
Five months ago I moved to NYC and rented an apartment on the top floor of a five story walk-up. There are twenty units in the apartment - it's located in Chelsea and is fairly pricey but nothing outrageous. There's no doorman or elevator.
One of the apartments on the ground floor is rented by a hoarder. She seems to be about 70+ years old. When I first moved in, I often saw her moving a folding grocery cart full of random stuff and I generally tried to avoid her. She smells terrible, usually like human waste.
In recent weeks she's started leaving her door open and her apartment appears to be filled floor to ceiling with random things. She has started to leave her belongings in various piles throughout the entryway of the building. Here's a pic.
She's ambulatory but clearly disturbed. As a new tenant I put off calling police or social services because I thought it was none of my business and I wasn't sure that any change would improve things from the status quo. I haven't talked to the super but he comes in from time to time and pours bleach/cleaning solution in the lobby to get rid of the smell of human waste. He knows.
Now that things are escalating, what's the right thing to do? I don't want to punish her or make her life worse. Given that, I'm generally skeptical of 311 or the police having the resources to help - but is that bias misplaced? At the same time there's a human being falling apart in front of me and it's painful to watch, let alone the impact it has on living here. I'm one of the newest resident of the building - but she doesn't seem beloved or misunderstood. People avoid her as she comes in and the few times I've spoken with her she's mentioned incomprehensible things about helping the homeless and then points to her piles of trash. I'm generally lost.