GHURA begins releasing $3.5 million in homeless funds; fires back at Congressman San Nicolas

Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (PNC file photo)

The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) says it received word from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last Thursday, of an additional allocation through the CARES Act of $2.6M in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds. ESG funds are available for activities to directly and effectively prevent, prepare, and respond to the impacts of Covid-19 on communities across the 50 states and insular areas.

This second allocation brings Guam’s total award of ESG funds to $3.5M.

In the coming weeks, over $740,000 (83% of Guam’s first allocation) will be awarded to experienced non-profit organizations already providing needed direct assistance, according to GHURA.

Services to house and address the related needs of not only Guam’s homeless, but also the very-low and extremely- low-income families directly impacted by Covid-19. A major objective is to fund activities to assist the homeless to stay safe from Covid-19 infection by providing emergency sheltering, and to support income-qualified persons and families with rental assistance to help them stay housed through this difficult period of job loss and income reduction brought on by the downturn of the island’s economy.

GHURA says additional and expanded activities are being considered and reviewed at this time to identify the best use of the second allocation ($2.6M).

In the coming days, GHURA says it will announce amendments to its Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan detailing these Covid-19 activities. When published, citizens will have an abbreviated five-day window in which to make comments.

Contrary to our Congressman’s recent press release stating that our vulnerable homeless population has yet to see substantial tangible outcomes with the funding long since provided, we must remind him that GHURA must still conform to all federal guidelines on how these federal monies are to be expended. The housing authority appreciates any additional funding from Congress to aid our community respond to the pandemic and we are guided every step of the way by our federal partners. We thank the Congressman for his efforts and ask that he allow us to do our jobs within the confines of the law,” said GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna.

(GHURA Press Release)