Chuukese Are Largest Group Of Homeless On Guam

575 out of 1,085 during ‘point-in-time count’ were from Chuuk

By Robert Q. Tupaz

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (The Guam Daily Post, June 8, 2016) – 575 people from the Federated States of Micronesia account for more than half the total number of individuals found to be homeless in Guam at the start of the year, according to the annual “Guam Homeless Point-in-Time Count.”

The results of the count conducted Jan. 29 were released by the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority and Guam Homeless Coalition partners in late April. The count found a total of 1,085 persons who identified themselves as homeless in Guam it the start of 2016.

Sen. Tina Rose Muna Barnes told GHURA board of trustees nominee George Santos yesterday during his confirmation hearing that the island needs to address the issue of homelessness before it is exacerbated.

According to the homelessness report released by GHURA in late April, for the second straight year in a row, the Chuukese community in Guam accounted for the highest number of homeless individuals living on island.

A total of 454 current Guam residents identified themselves as Chuukese, and reported that they were homeless. Of that number, 379 were counted as “unsheltered” homeless. Another 75 were recorded in the data as “sheltered” but homeless. Chuuk is one of the four island entities that comprise the Federated States of Micronesia.

When counted together with their sister citizens from the states of Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap, the number of Chuukese combined, the number of homeless individuals from the FSM amount 575 people, or over half of the 1,085 people living on the streets or in substandard homes in Guam and classified as homeless. At least 88 homeless persons reported their ethnicity as Pohnpeian, one identified as Kosraean and 33 reported themselves as Yapese.

In comparison, persons who identified themselves as Chamorros from Guam ranked second with a total of 354 persons telling surveyors that they were homeless. Of that number, 334 were listed as unsheltered and 20 were in a sheltered accommodation of sorts.

According to the report, of the total 1,085, some 973 persons were counted as unsheltered homeless persons whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or other locations, as per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homeless.

The remaining 112 persons were at the time living in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs.

Some 470 homeless persons were under the age of 18. A majority - 555 - were male and 529 were female. One homeless person identified as transgender.

According to GHURA, “When comparing the 2015 and 2016 final count, Guam has experienced an 18 percent decrease in total unsheltered persons and a 29 percent increase in the number of persons residing in homeless shelters and transitional housing from last year’s count.” The 2015 count reflected that there were 1,280 homeless persons in Guam.  

In February, Michael Duenas, executive director of GHURA, noted that the good news from initial results of the annual count was that the number of persons classified as homeless dropped for the second straight year. In 2014, Guam recorded some 1,365 people as homeless.

Dededo and Yigo accounted for 690 homeless individuals, many living in substandard shelter with a majority of them children. The capital city of Hagåtña had some 52 homeless individuals, nine of whom were children split between two homes. After Hagåtña, the southern village of Agat accounted for 48 homeless people with 36 children living in seven substandard homes.

A complete analytical report is expected to be released by GHURA in July.

According to the agency, the Point‐In‐Time Count is conducted to determine the number of unsheltered and sheltered homeless persons in Guam and to provide detailed information on the characteristics of our island’s homeless population including information such as ethnicity, gender, reasons for becoming homeless, barriers to obtaining employment and sources of income.

Specific subpopulations are also identified including veterans, chronic homeless families and individuals, victims of domestic violence, those suffering from chronic substance abuse, and those with severe mental illness.

The Guam Homeless Coalition comprises government agencies, nonprofit organizations and members of the private sector that come together for the purpose of responding to the needs of the homeless.

More than 200 volunteers canvassed the island searching for individuals and families living in conditions identified as homeless per the HUD definition.

Marianas Variety
Copyright © 2016 Marianas Variety. All Rights Reserved

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Comments

It is devastated to see inhumane result of no progress for Chuuk future, yet the opportunist of insurgent for Chuukese as goes to Pandi Suzuki, Cindy Mori, Mr. Sabino Asor... and the rest of Chuukese Insurgent movement ( The Chuuk future for Communism or Chaos of Independent) have pushing and manipulating Chuuk into a disaster and chaos, instead of working and help solving how Chuukese can able to have dignity, and opportunity at home in Chuuk and in United States. Chuuk State at this moment is a total gross menace for lacking, and no leadership at all. The new Candidates for Chuuk Governor, Senators and FSM Congress have not ashamed to do their job, but enjoy the ongoing nonsense of dancing, and singing but homeless Chuuk citizen. Thank you.

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