GHURA collaborates with Hawaii on programs addressing homelessness

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(PNC photo)

Guam – The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) announces a recent collaboration between GHURA, the Governor’s Office and the State of Hawaii on matters involving housing and homelessness.

At the request of Lt. Governor Josh Green of Hawaii, Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio and GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna joined the Hawaii Lt. Governor for a series of meetings involving state officials, non-profit partners, and tours of homeless camps and innovative affordable housing models.

Both Guam and Hawaii face similar challenges in a sense that much of our homeless population are citizens of the Compact of Free Association.

During the week of May 20, 2019, Lt. Governor Green shared with Guam officials his 10-Point Plan to deal with Hawaii’s chronic homeless problem which includes Lift Zones, Transitional Shelters, Medical Treatment, Joint Outreach Centers, and Permanent Housing. The 2019 Homeless Point-in-Time Count for Hawaii showed that the total number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons declined by 42 persons to 4,453 (compared
to 2018), which is an indication that some of their initiatives may be working.

Lt. Governor Tenorio and Executive Director Topasna also met w/ officials from the Department of Human Services, the Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center, and the Institute for Human Services. They also visited Kahauiki Village—a groundbreaking initiative to create affordable communities for homeless families—and interacted with homeless families at the Kakaako Gateway Park which is a homeless camp in the heart of
Honolulu.

“One of the takeaways from this trip is the innovative affordable housing model homes at the Kahauiki Village. This initiative alone takes dozens of families off the streets for longer terms versus the shorter periods involved with transitional shelters,” said Lt. Governor Tenorio.

“Guam offers some great affordable housing programs but we clearly must do more to assist our homeless population with shelter or affordable housing.”

While in Hawaii, Executive Director Topasna also met w/ officials from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) regarding ongoing GHURA matters, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, and finally met with and toured private operators of public housing, Section 8 and Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects.

“I truly appreciate the ongoing collaborative efforts between the State of Hawaii, the Governor’s Office and GHURA to reduce homelessness and our partners at HUD who contribute $65 million annually to our community,” said Topasna.