Guam's homeless count may be on the rise - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam's homeless count may be on the rise

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Homeless Coalition conducted the Annual Point In Time Home Count today, and officials believe the numbers are on the rise. About 120 volunteers from GHURA, the Salvation Army, Catholic Social Services, GCC and UOG participated in today's homeless count, aimed finding out how many residents on Guam are either homeless or living in substandard housing.

Marson Augustina is one of those residents living under one roof with five other families in substandard housing in Dededo. He blames the poor economy for his current status, telling KUAM News, "Since I got laid off, everything's been hard and right now only my wife's working and I know its been hard on her."

The residents are interviewed about living conditions and if they are receiving financial assistance. GCC students Latoya Reed and George Hollingswurth were among the volunteers handing out food and personal hygiene supplies. She noted, "The first person I ran across was actually writing a list of things that he had for problems that he sees with homes here in Guam and I mean the living conditions," with Hollingswurth adding, "This is more of a class project and its my first time and its cool everyone is nice it's the same all around the island." He said he's learning about "a lot of different homes and the low class."

Reed says her team interviewed eleven families totaling 52 individuals for the Santa Ana area alone. The count for 2011 for Guam was 1,500 unsheltered homeless and 248 additional who live in shelters.  Salvation Army's April Manibusan says the count helps them get money needed for grants to develop programs and assist the island's homeless. She said the teams did have one major challenge today, explaining, "We were finding some teams that come back with no surveys at all, so we are thinking that due to the rain we had a lot of homeless migrate and we hope the night teams will be able to catch them."

The final count is anticipated to be higher than 2011, but those results will not be ready for the next three months. 

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