Martin Benavente is currently the president for the Guam Housing Corporation.
(JIC) – Guam Housing Corporation (GHC) President Martin Benavente, who has served the island as a Dededo commissioner and a training officer at Civil Defense, and has also trained a reconstruction team for a previous storm recovery effort, was appointed to lead the transition of shelterees from emergency shelter at the gyms to their homes. Governor Eddie Baza Calvo appointed Benavente because of his experience with recovery efforts.
For those people whose homes have been totally destroyed, Mr. Benavente’s team is working to find other solutions to help them. There are 14 families at Agana Heights gym, and 39 families at Tamuning gym.
Yesterday, Governor Calvo and Mr. Benavente visited residents at the shelters. One of the displaced shelterees asked the governor about the assistance that is available for her and her family. She was worried that her family would not be able to receive aid because they are not U.S. citizens.
“I know people are hearing about the restrictions of the federal government and FEMA. At this point, however, FEMA hasn’t been activated and we’re not waiting for them,” Governor Calvo stated. “The folks at the shelters need help to return to their homes and get back to their lives. We’re working on different angles to get them that help.”
The Governor, through his Washington D.C. office, has reached out to the Department of Interior to see what help can be afforded to all residents whose homes were lost or damaged.
In addition, Mr. Benavente, whose agency has helped many families find homes, is trying to find other solutions. GHC and the Guam Housing Urban and Renewal Authority (GHURA), have worked together with federal and private partners to build affordable housing for Guamanians. Current housing programs also have helped many homeless families find emergency shelter and progress to renting, and even owning, their own homes.
“We might have to think out of the box to find these solutions, but we’ll find a way. We have to be mindful of the children who are depending on us to ensure they have a safe place to call home,” Benavente said.
Benavente’s teams are going with shelterees to their homes to assess the damage, and if needed, they’ll receive tents so they can return home.