It Takes a Coalition

Cheryl Perera, Director, New Ventures and Community Programs
VHA Home HealthCare (VHA)

Problematic hoarding is a complex issue that often impacts and involves many sectors. No single organization is likely to be able to address and meet all the needs of a single individual with extreme hoarding behaviour; Fire services, public health, landlords, community support agencies, and animal protection services are among a few of the stakeholders that are often involved. Hoarding behaviour that goes unaddressed for long periods of time can result in health and safety issues. Collaborative partnerships can strategically leverage existing resources to ensure that all impacted get the best possible service and outcome. Key learnings for building effective partnerships include the need for a agreed upon understanding of the “current state” including service gaps, the effective use of partnership tools such as service level agreements, clear leadership and resources commitments and a capacity building strategy.


Cheryl Perera joined VHA Home HealthCare (VHA), a non-profit home health and community support organization in October 2007. In her current role as Director, New Ventures and Community Programs, Cheryl is in charge of VHA’s charitable community support programs as well as developing new ventures and partnerships. Cheryl is the past chair the Toronto Hoarding Coalition and oversees VHA’s lead agency role in the newly formed Toronto Hoarding Support Services Network. VHA offers both Extreme Cleaning and Hoarding Support Services in Toronto, York Region and London/Middlesex and Extreme Cleaning in Durham Region and Ottawa. These programs are focused on homelessness prevention and meant for vulnerable individuals who do not have the means to pay for needed services. Cheryl holds a MSW from the University of Toronto and a MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University.