Guam gets more emergency housing vouchers from feds; landlords asked to help out

Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (PNC file photo)

The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority has received more housing vouchers from the federal government and wants to work with more landlords to help house the island’s Section 8 qualified residents.

The Lt. Governor’s task force on homelessness had a virtual meeting on Thursday to give current updates on tackling this ongoing issue.

According to GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna, the agency will be receiving 87 Emergency Housing Section 8 vouchers, totaling about $1.2 million.

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“These 87 vouchers are on top of the 2,581 vouchers we currently are authorized. So collectively, we provide a home to about 4,880 families and individuals. And any time we get word of additional vouchers, it’s just a plus for Guam. We’re hoping that there will be more vouchers. But again, it boils down to … and this is the challenge we faced in the past … to landlords willing to contract with GHURA for section 8,” Topasna said.

Additionally, Topasna wants to get the word out to landlords that GHURA has always been reliable in housing payments since the beginning of the pandemic.

“A lot of landlords weren’t getting paid because many individuals may have lost their jobs or had a reduction in hours. But if a landlord contracted with GHURA, you were certainly paid on time and that’s something we want to promote out there and with the 87 vouchers, we hope it will get landlords to consider working with GHURA and the Guam Homeless Coalition,” Topasna said.

He added that GHURA will continue to work with the Guam Homeless Coalition to administer the program.

Dr. Margaret Hattori-Uchima, Dean of the UOG School of Nursing, said that GHURA is already working on the MOU between GHURA and the Guam Homeless Coalition.

With lead Coordinator Amor Say, they have set up an ad hoc committee to work on the process of determining the distribution of the emergency housing voucher program.