VIDEO: Lack of Services for Homeless Population a Burden for GMH

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Guam – News of woman camping outside of Guam Memorial Hospital after she was discharged because she had no where else to go has spurred a lot of discussion in the community. The woman was eventually taken into the ER and but GMH Administrator Joseph Verga says the story is just one example of a growing problem on the island.

“We do have a number of patients here at GMH and at the Skilled Nursing Unit…that are placement issues. They don’t really need to be in a hospital or a nursing facility but they have no where to go,” Verga told PNC. “These are folks that have medical needs that can’t be met in the community or these are folks who don’t have anywhere to go so they remain in the hospital and they remain in the skilled nursing facility.”

Many of these individuals do have medical needs such as daily infusions or dialysis, needs which Verga says could be met elsewhere if the right resources were available.

“This situation also results in our costs increasing going up but again we become the agency of last resort for many of these folks,” said Verga.

The Guam Homeless Coalition last year recorded 364 households living without homes during the annual Point In Time Count with a total of 1,272 homeless individuals another count will be conducted next Friday. Homeless Coalition Member Frank Taijeron says canned food, hygiene products and other necessities will be given to the individuals they meet during the count but they’ll also connect them to the resources that are available. Nurses from the Department of Public Health will be on hand to assist as needed.

The Guam Homeless Coalition is asking for additional canned goods to pass out during the point-in-time count next Friday.  If you’d like to make a donation you can contact Taijeron at the Salvation Army by calling 477-9813.