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Guam's homeless population will be counted

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - They occupy the islands emergency shelters beaches and even bus stops. But who are they? They're the islands homeless and later this month, will be counted as part of the Guam Homeless Coalitions point in time count.

Set for Friday, January 24 its an all day count of the islands homeless.

Guam Homeless Coalition chair Margaret Hattori-Uchima said, "Iits important because we need to learn more. we need to get the numbers because that data helps us to obtain funding primarily from HUD but also for us to find out who are our homeless. what are the characteristics of the homeless on Guam and where they are located and maybe what services they might be needing and that information helps the guam homeless coalition plan for the next year and into the future."

But the count is only possible thanks to help of volunteers. Homeless Management Informations support systems specialist Frank Taijeron said, "Last year we had 155. Were looking to match that number. currently we have under 100 and thats an estimate," she said.

Before volunteers can hit the streets for the one day only count, theyll need to undergo trainings Wednesday Thursday or Friday this week or next Tuesday or Wednesday next week from 8 a.m. to  one p..m at the Catholic Social Services offices in Barrigada.

"Your responsibility would be to survey the potential clients, looking for unsheltered individuals who might be living out in tents or substandard homes. And we basically have around 27 sites that we would like to cover. the more volunteers we get, we could expand and maybe cover more sites this year" she said.

Aside from volunteers, the Guam Homeless Coalition is also in need of canned goods to be handed out during the count.

"If youre interested in volunteering please contact Paula Perez at Catholic Social Services at 635-1433 and if youre interested in donating for the point in time count call Lou Hongyee 477-7671," she said.

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