Guam – The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsored a two-day Technical Assistance (TA) training with homeless service providers and partners on Guam.
The event took place at Catholic Social Services on May 30th and 31st and facilitated by seasoned trainer Dionne Roberts of Training & Development Associates, Inc.
Ms. Roberts provided a customized dialogue in response to homeless assistance programs, policy, and planning in accordance to HUD’s Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act.
The revised HEARTH Act emphasizes prevention of at-risk homeless individuals, families, and veterans and rapid re-housing of homeless individuals, families, and veterans. The 2013 Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count shows approximately 1,272 homeless individuals residing on Guam.
[Guam Homeless Coalition and Community Stakeholders]
In Fiscal Year 2012, GHURA on behalf of the Government of Guam received roughly $1.35 million (Emergency Shelter/Solutions Grant and Continuum of Care grant) to fund homeless shelters, programs, services, and data management. Award funds were allocated to various housing programs and service providers, including The Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Recovery Center as well as Family Services Center, CARIDAD Supportive Services, Guma’ Hinemlo, Homeless Management Information System, Oasis Empowerment Center, Empowered Together, Sagan Ayudan Maisa, Sanctuary Inc., Forrester’s Refuge, and two Shelter Plus Care projects (Housing First and Aftercare).
The training highlighted collaboration, performance outcomes, and the creation of flexible programs in order to end homelessness in Guam. The Guam Homeless Coalition (GHC) is the local Continuum of Care in Guam, which oversees homeless programs, shelters, and services, comprising non-profit organizations, businesses, formerly homeless individuals, and local government agencies, including GHURA, Catholic Social Services, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, Department of Public Health and Social Services, Department of Labor, Agency for Human Resources Development (AHRD), Department of Education, WestCare Pacific Islands, and Veterans Affairs.
As the sequestration in Congress makes its impact on the island, GHC must focus on collaborative leadership and the strategic use of limited financial resources. This can be achieved through improved data collection and performance measurement, funding for prevention of at-risk clients, accessibility to and effective use of mainstream resources—such as collective partnerships within the business community and education outreach— and the optimization towards self-sufficiency.
The training provided island stakeholders an opportunity to understand HUD’s strategic direction as well as to learn best practices in the prioritization of projects to close gaps of unmet needs of our homeless population—all vital steps in the eventual elimination of homelessness on Guam.