GovGuam working to provide affordable housing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GovGuam working to provide affordable housing

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - Many of Guam's residents continue to live in substandard housing, unable to afford to buy or rent the home they desire. The Calvo Administration has vowed to focus on fixing the problem of a lack of affordable housing on Guam and today they took a step towards that end. One woman exemplifies the type of resident who needs help with housing the most.

"They see a vision down the road for people like me that are unfortunately the needy, poor, temporary employment, layoff," said Alicia Pinaula. By "they", she means the Calvo Administration, the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, the Chamorro Land Trust Commission and the Guam Housing Corporation, working together the entities are looking for solutions for the lack of affordable housing locally. "It's not just for myself, but for others that are living in my neighborhood or living in shacks," she continued.

Pinaula has lived on a piece property for thirty years and in 1997 Supertyphoon Paka flattened her house. Since then she and her four children have called a shack her home. "Now my four little ones have the same dream: to have a concrete home, a safe home, and its clean and bathroom and everything that we needed in a home," she explained.

This is a dream she tried to realize for years. She says she tried every avenue to get a home loan, but could never meet the criteria. In 2006 she went to GHURA to apply for a loan. "Her application was submitted a year ago or two years ago and unfortunately, it was never approved," explained administrator of CLTC Monte Mafnas. It was rejected, he says, because of a problem with the default clause in the loan agreement. He says the board cleared up that roadblock during their first meeting.

"Basically we guarantee the loan in the event Ms. Pinuala falls way behind we have thousands of applicants that can fit the program so we can clearly define a reserve so we can find and alternate applicant to assume that loan," he said.

And today Pinuala was the first to signoff on a $60,000 loan with GHURA under the Home Investment Partnership Grant. The program is a rehabilitation loan that takes a substandard house and converts it into standard living conditions.

Mafnas says he hopes hundreds of other applicants like Pinuala will be able to benefit from the grant. Today she cried tears of joy as she signed the paperwork during the signing of a proclamation declaring July as Home Ownership Month. "Oh gosh," she said, "it's a glorious victory, you know, my kids were saying, 'I'm happy, I'm happy today!'"

With the $600,000 a year available through the grant, one day maybe many more children on Guam living in substandard housing will be able to say the same thing.

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