GHURA: Homeless total decreased in 2020; 682 counted on Guam pre-COVID

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Based on the final data reports, there are a total of 682 unsheltered homeless persons on Guam in 2020. (PNC file photo)

The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) has announced the final count of the Guam Homeless Point-in-Time Count conducted pre-pandemic on January 31, 2020.

Based on the final data reports, there are a total of 682 unsheltered homeless persons whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private place not designed or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus, and other sites, as per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) homeless definition.

Furthermore, there are a total of 108 persons living in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. When comparing the 2019 and 2020 final count, Guam experienced a 9.7% decrease in total unsheltered and sheltered persons experiencing homelessness.

A comparison to the 2019 count identifies the following changes: 1) Homeless Veterans
decreased by 9%; 2) Homeless unaccompanied youth (up to age 24) was unchanged; 3) Homeless Parenting Youth Households decreased by 14%; 4) Chronically homeless individuals decreased by 44%; and 5) Chronically homeless families decreased by 74%.

There were approximately 300 volunteers who scouted the island for individuals and families living in conditions identified as homeless as per HUD’s definition. The Point-In-Time Count is conducted to determine the number of unsheltered and sheltered homeless persons on Guam and to provide detailed information on the characteristics of our island’s homeless population including information such as ethnicity, gender, reasons for becoming homeless, barriers to obtaining employment, and sources of income.

Specific subpopulations are also identified, including Veterans, chronic homeless families and individuals, victims of domestic violence, those suffering from chronic substance abuse, and those with severe mental illness.

The Guam Homeless Coalition (GHC) comprises government agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector that come together for the purpose of responding to the needs of homeless youth, families, and single adults. As the Collaborative Applicant for Guam’s Continuum of Care (CoC) homeless assistance program, GHURA submits the island’s consolidated application inclusive of renewal applications and new project funding request under the CoC Program Grant, administers the CoC grant funds and monitors projects for program compliance.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Coalition who work tirelessly each day to make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate. Homelessness cannot be solved by GHURA alone. Together with our Coalition partners, we are pleased to see a slight decrease in both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals. In combination with recent pandemic response efforts by the Leon Guerrero/Tenorio Administration to stand up an emergency shelter at Global Dorm, we are hopeful that we will continue to see a decline in the numbers in the future. Our work is never done until the Point-in-Time count is down to zero,” said GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna.

The community can access the FINAL 2020 Guam Point-in-Time Homeless Count Data Tables through GHURA’s website at www.ghura.org.

(GHURA Release)

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