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Guam - One Guamanian woman was once homeless but is now working to address the issue of homelessness on the island.


"People in Guam don't have their own place to sleep at night," said Esther Taijeron. Just a few short years ago, she was one of these individuals. "I Came to Guam in October of 2012 I entered Oasis in July of 2013. I'm a recovering alcoholic, so when I came out here my family didn't want me 26 so I became homeless," she explained.


Without income or family to support her, she was left to the streets. However, when Taijeron found Oasis, it changed her life. "I found Oasis and they provided me with housing for over 15 months," she recalled. "They hired me on after my 6 months, when I completed residential."


She is now a caseworker trying to give back and help others in similar situations. Guam Homeless Coalition vice chair Diana Calvo says the situations vary: "Substance use, individuals are furloughed from their job because of downsizing or projects are completed, sometimes divorce or separation from family, sometimes domestic violence," she explained.


But who can help? Calvo says organizations to contact include Catholic Social Services, Oasis, Sanctuary, Lighthouse Recovery Center, or the Guam Homeless Coalition liaison at 475-1406. "The services that are provided include financial assistance to prevent homelessness, or to also assist in obtaining more permanent housing," she added.


Calvo stresses that homelessness is actually a community issue, interrelated with everything from our schools to our healthcare system and economy. "One of the challenges that we have in the coalition is that we are maxed out really in our ability to meet the demand," she added.


Because of this organizations struggle to meet the needs of the homeless community, and she urges both the community and government to work together to address the issue.