The government of Guam is looking for solutions to help the island’s homeless.
One of GovGuam’s major projects to address homelessness is to create a new homeless shelter similar to the Global Dorm in Maite.
GovGuam is currently looking for a facility that has about 40 rooms.
Catholic Social Services deputy director Paula Siguenza told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Friday morning that the Global Dorm is constantly at capacity.
On top of that, there’s a wait-list.
The wait-list currently has about 17 people.
“The focus of Global Dorm is families with children, the manamko, and those with disabilities. So majority of the people on the waitlist are single individuals,” Siguenza said.
The Global Dorm is one of several locally funded initiatives to help the homeless.
However, federal funds are available to house people who’ve been displaced by the pandemic.
Homelessness is connected to the pandemic both because of people who are newly homeless because of the pandemic’s financial impact and because sheltering the homeless and providing services is a key part of helping to slow the spread of COVID.
Along with housing, federal funds are also available to assist with rental assistance and arrears.
“We have received over 100 applications, and our staff is working as quickly as they can to put people into units. Our biggest challenge is finding affordable housing. That’s everybody’s challenge right now. Units are expensive. There are FMRs that we need to abide by. There are caps for one bedroom, two bedroom units, that we have to follow. So it’s been a challenge for the individuals and our staff to locate units,” Siguenza said.
Siguenza added that there are homeless people who don’t wish to seek shelter and prefer life on the streets.
She said that Catholic Social Services still provides help to those people as well.
“There may be a couple dozen of those. And we still meet with them regularly … try to engage them, encourage them to look for services and accept services, and we’ll continue to do that,” Siguenza said.