Guam – $50 thousand dollar concrete homes, $20 thousand dollar steel homes and $10 thousand dollar container homes could soon be popping up around the island. The Guam Housing Corporation believes that this is possible and they say that it can help to solve Guam’s homeless problem.
Guam Housing Corporation President Martin Benevente says they’ve put the call out to contractors to providce them with ways to build extremely affordable housing and they’ve received some positive responses from contractors with alternative building systems. “We got metal, we got concrete, we got wood thats on island now that we’re pushing to get this out to the people because the people that really need homes and what they call affordable homes they cannot reach the average concrete house that’s avaialable today,” said Benevente.
Benevente says the average concrete house that the GHC has been lending money for runs about $200 to $250 thousand dollars. Now Benevente says there are new ways of building houses and he’s calling these new building methods a game changer. Concrete houses as low as $50 thousand dollars. This is a picture of a $55 thousand dollar concrete home they just recently had built in Yigo. “It’s a one bedroom beautiful kitchen, ceramic tiles, it’s sitting in Chamorro Land Trust property and this gentlemen borrowed $55 thousand dollars and built it through a local contractor. So it can be done. That just proves that it can be done,” said Benevente.
The GHC President says the secret is new methods of construction that are cheaper. One new method is to construct houses out of steel metal shipped in on rolls and formed into steel beams here on island. aaron international has a machine that is completely automated. You punch in the specs and it punches out the steel beams. Then the house is put together to your specs. This type of construction signifigantly reduces labor costs. A two bedroom house can be built in 45 days. These types of houses run from $16 thousand dollars if bought in bulk to $80 thousand dollars for the larger more elaborate models.
Then there are companies providing extremely affordable $10 thousand dollar container-like homes. Benevente says with their financing you can get a house and pay as low as $80 dollars a month for these containe-like homes. “A lot of people can even just put some of these units in their backyard or their mothers back yard for now or something like that just to keep it affordable. Or they can get free land from Chamorro Land Trust you can plunk it on there. These are units that are good also for peoples’ houses that have burned down. wW can just put it there hook it up to water and power and they already have an instant house,” said Benevente.
Are they typhoon resistant? “That’s one thing that we’re asking that they certify it with an engineer that it can withstand 175 mile per hour winds at least and if they can do that then we’re saying it can probably survive in an average storm.” Even if they’re not necessarily as strong as concrete homes Benevente points out that these homes provide a better alternative for families who otherwise would be living under canopies, in tents, or in rickety wood and tin structures. “They’re living out there now in tin shacks, canopies, lean-to’s, it’s all over. I see it every day and I think this a thousand percent improvement and people should avail themselves [of it],” said Benevente adding, “People are using gravel for their floors now a days. This is…this century man we’re not supposed to be doing that anymore but we are.”
The Governor plans on building a number of these types of homes near Guma San Jose for qualified families. Benevente says that they plan on building ten different types of model homes in the Sagan Linayhan area for potential homeowners to see. Benevente says there are up to 50 lots of Government land that they hope to build homes like these on in the Sagan Linahyan area.