More Than 1,000 Homeless In Guam After Typhoon

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Dolphin wrecks homes, 1,055 living in tents

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, May 29, 2015) – There are 1,055 individuals that are living in government-provided tents because Typhoon Dolphin wrecked their homes, according to Martin Benavente, president of Guam Housing Corp. Benavente said tents were provided to 168 families and most of them were living in the Dededo and Yigo area.

The government issued 20-foot by 30-foot canopies to large families and 18-foot by 20-foot canopies to smaller families. The individuals and families that were given tents had homes before, according to Benavente.

"All families that were verified and assessed by GHC had some kind of a home prior to the storm," he said.

The governor tapped Benavente to lead efforts to help transition the people living in shelters affected by Typhoon Dolphin. Dolphin passed through the Rota Channel, with the south eyewall passing over the north part of the island, on May 15.

Two village gymnasiums in Tamuning and Agana Heights were open to house people after storm but the people were given tents. The Agana Heights gym closed on May 20 and Tamuning closed on May 25.

There are about 23 public housing units available from Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority and Guam Housing Corporation available for those without homes, Benavente said.

GHURA has 10 homes to 12 homes and GHC has about 11 vacant units for residents to live in permanently. "(GHURA) has a list for those units already, the only way that list can be offset is through a presidential declaration," Benavente said. GHC is working to repair the 11 vacant units for some residents to live in.

He said he’s also looking into providing families homeless because of the storm container homes or concrete model homes.

President Obama has not yet issued a disaster declaration for the island yet, which is why there has not been an emergency relief funding issued. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is not able to provide emergency assistance until a declaration has been issued.

"We’re still not FEMA-activated yet because the president hasn’t been given the declaration to sign so we’re not ready with that," Benavente said.

Likewise, emergency food stamps will not be available until a declaration is signed.

For residents who need immediate assistance, Benavente said they should reach out to their mayors

Benavente said they’re still assessing and if people are still hurting they need to call their mayors. "We stand ready to give you the minimal. Red Cross is doing the same," he said. "Just call us and give us a chance to help you."

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