Proposed Guam Housing Plan To Create 3,000 Affordable Residences

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5-year plan ‘collaborative effort’ between multiple entities

By Louella Losinio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, June 20, 2012) – At least 3,000 affordable homes will be built by 2014, according to the Affordable Housing Five-Year Strategic Plan presented during the first day of the 4th Annual Guam Affordable Housing Symposium held at the Hyatt Regency Guam yesterday.

"That’s basically a very aggressive goal but we are moving forward with it," stated Ceasar Villanueva, special assistant to the president of Guam Housing Corporation.

According to Villanueva, the five-year plan for 2010 up to 2015 was reviewed last year by partnering agencies such as Guam Housing Corporation, Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, Department of Land Management, the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, and utility agencies such as the Guam Power Authority and Guam Waterworks Authority.

After the idea of developing affordable housing for the community was brought up, Villanueva said the partner agencies got together and researched impeding barriers or constraints to housing development and also discussed policy issues, regulations, and current programs and incentives.

"We have identified lands to develop. We have identified programs through the federal government, as well as floating some bonds as funding sources or tax incentives for private developers to take advantage of to develop affordable housing – all with the premise of meeting those goals. It is a collaborative effort; not only one agency was responsible for it," Villanueva explained.

He added: "The five-year plan touches on a lot of things such as land availability, funding, federal programs, local programs, and financing options. So it is really private-public industry coming together and actually pushing the incentives forward."

Villanueva said there have been some minor setbacks to achieving their goal. An example he cited was the Lada Estates project that was derailed for more than 20 years. Just this month, he said, a clearing ceremony took place to put the development back in the market. He said at least 400 affordable homes will be developed within Lada Estates.

Villanueva is hopeful about accomplishing the goals set in the plan. "We are not there yet. It can take a while to get there but we are slowly, successfully chipping away at that goal."

"That’s a five-year plan, but hopefully we could get to the 3,000 affordable homes by 2014," he added.

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