Returning to GHURA, Topasna wants to help homelessness - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Returning to GHURA, Topasna eyes island's homeless problem

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Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority Administrator Ray Topasna is a familiar face. Ousted from the agency by the former administration, the self-styled whistleblower is back at GHURA, this time as the head honcho. And he says he has big plans for the agency.  

Topasna said he'll think outside the box and try to repair GHURA's image after local charges and federal indictments hit the housing authority in the last administration.

"The management and staff have done an outstanding job - they weathered the storm and they're doing very well," he said. "Our housing programs - our Section 8, our public housing, our Guma Trankilidat, our housing programs are at the 80th market percentile in the nation. We're considered a top performing housing authority nationwide."  

Topasna also said he'd like to explore options and ways GHURA can pitch in and help the homeless since Guam, with 53 homeless persons per 10,000, is surprisingly near the top in that category

"Washington D.C., No. 1, Guam's No. 2 and Hawaii is No. 3 in terms of homelessness," he said.

Topasna also said GHURA doesn't want to go it alone under his watch.

"I'd like to take the housing authority to the next level and do more collaboration with our partner agencies such as the Guam Housing Corporation," he said. "They have a lot of assets, we have the resources, we have the talent to develop properties. DISID, Guam Behavorial Health, Veterans Affairs, we need more referrals from them. We have Section 8 vouchers to issue to homeless vets, to persons with disabilities."

Topasna added he will explore best use practices for properties in GHURA's inventory.

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