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GHURA program helps provide access to skills

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - Designed to build self-sufficiency in its participants, one GHURA program participant shares how the program was a success for her.

Getting off of welfare assistance and becoming self-sufficient is the ultimate goal for individuals who participate in GHURA's Family Self-Sufficiency program and for individuals such as Veronica Ramirez who will be graduating from the program next Tuesday completing the five year program brings a sense of accomplishment.  "I was in the Section 8 program and then the FSS coordinator came to us a few of us and scheduled a meeting and asked us if we were interested and so I took the program," she said. "It kinda kept me on my toes it was a lot of sit down with a lot of paperwork establishing my goals and where I want to be in a certain amount of years."

The program made possible through a grant received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps individuals such as Veronica gain access to education, and job training needed to compete for decent jobs.  She said, "Just that I stayed focused cannot stray away just meeting and knowing the importance of having a home of your own just kind of kept me going."

Now at the end of her five-year contract Veronica has completed her education through the University of Guam and has secured a job at the Ironwood Estates Community Center in Dededo. "Ironwood has picked me up in the afterschool program which the skill I acquired from UOG are needed here as well. Its hard work but I like it I like what I do," she said.

She is proof that the program works and has allowed her to increase her income, reduce her need for rental assistance and finally achieve housing self-sufficiency. "I worked really hard to get there and for the phone call to come and say hey your check is ready this is what you are going to get and you ready to get your home I wanted to jump out of my body," she said.

Her dedication and hard work is finally paying off as she will receive a check for about $25,000 from escrow funds accumulated through FSS, which will go towards the purchase of her first home.  Ramirez encourages others to join the program and stick with it as the program makes the dream of home ownership a reality. 

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