Guam Officials To Discuss Homelessness Problem

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Number of homeless children concerns lawmakers

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 14, 2015) – Sen. Mike San Nicolas, D-Dededo, is hosting a public roundtable meeting Tuesday morning to discuss ways to reduce the amount of homeless children on island.

Since Typhoon Dolphin hit Guam in May, several stories have surfaced regarding a lack of adequate shelters for the island’s children, San Nicolas said.

"It’s a very big problem that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves," San Nicolas said.

Guam’s total homeless population was reportedly 1,356, according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s 2014 report on homelessness. Of that population, 531 were under the age of 18.

The previous year, HUD reported Guam’s homeless population to be a total 1,271 people, with 515 younger than 18. The 2013 report showed the lowest homeless population on island in the last five reporting years. The highest number of homeless reported on Guam between the 2010 and 2014 reports was 1,745 people in HUD’s 2011 findings.

Guma San Jose in Dededo is currently the only homeless shelter on island. The facility provides 24 hours of shelter for up to 60 days, three meals a day and transportation to appointments, to name a few of the services.

Several stakeholders such as the Guam Homeless Coalition, Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, Child Protective Services and Department of Youth Affairs have been invited to participate in Tuesday’s discussion. Members of the public can also join the meeting, which is scheduled for 10 a.m.

The "intent (of the meeting) is to pull stakeholders together to not only get a hold of the magnitude of the problem, but make the reality of Guam’s homeless go away," San Nicolas said.

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