The Guam Homeless Coalition has announced new developments seeking to aid the growing homeless community in Guam in the near future. After a Zoom meeting held on Thursday, September 8, 2022, new announcements were made regarding the improvement of previous proposals and new projects in development. According to the acting director of the Office of Homelessness Assistance and Poverty Prevention, Rob San Agustin, more meals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are expected for those in need. One of their continuous programs recently distributed about 750 cases of military field rations/MRE (meals ready to eat) to mayors and nonprofits to spread throughout the island.
“750 cases of food, like 10,000 meals that are out there for our community,” San Agustin told The Guam Daily Post. Adding to the new solutions for aiding the homeless, the coalition has also received about 500 toiletry kits and a grant from the Guam Economic Development Authority for the purpose of making videos to spread awareness about the actions of the coalition. Though the coalition seeks to raise awareness within the island’s general community, they hope to reach those in positions involved in homelessness issues such as landlords, realtors, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Their end goal is to gather enough support to build a committee focused on targeting homelessness problems divided into several panels for different roles: landlord panel, service provider panel, and more.
However, several problems continue to create conflicts in helping the homeless in Guam. Though the Office of Homelessness Assistance and Poverty Prevention has the power to conduct homelessness-focused programs, they are unable to remove any individual unless the owner of the private property requests it. Targeting the areas that the office deems as “public health and safety issues,” the council has begun a building project for the Department of Public Works and both communicated and worked with private owners to help the homeless.
In order to expand its services and aid to the homeless, the Office of Homelessness Assistance and Poverty Prevention plans to transition to 24/7 phone hours, opened a new office location, spread the word through local news, and created social media pages.