Immediately after the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration’s takeover of Adelup, the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority continued to make headlines. But rather than breaking news regarding charges being levied against public officials, it’s more positive news like ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking events - including the Central Precinct Command, 130 affordable homes in Dededo, improvements to the Dededo Sports Complex, etc. – and most recently GHURA receiving “High Performer” recognition from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development on both its Section 8 and Public Housing programs. Clearly, the housing authority has made a 180-degree turn under a new board and executive management.
While certain programs and personnel at GHURA have gotten much attention over the past six months, there are the unsung heroes who quietly work passionately each day to enhance the quality of lives for thousands of families. GHURA’s four unsung heroes are service coordinators Francesca Gatuz, Alice James, Sandrina Cepeda and Pauline Santos.
Gatuz oversees the Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency program. Her primary responsibility is to assist elderly residents and individuals with disabilities living in public housing – from Dededo down to Merizo - by linking them with services and activities enabling participants to age/remain in place with the intent of trying to avoid more costly forms of care - such as nursing homes or other institutional facilities. Some of these services include home-delivered meals, transportation, family/caregiver support, respite care, health care, wellness, etc.
James is another service coordinator who is assigned to Guma Trankilidat in Tumon. Similarly, James works closely with the elderly and individuals with disabilities and tries to link them with supportive services they need to continue living in their homes. Both programs are designed to promote and support self-sufficiency and independence among GHURA’s most vulnerable residents.
Cepeda and Santos are service coordinators who oversee a very critical program titled Family Self Sufficiency. GHURA provides so many critical services which never make headlines but benefit the local community, most especially low- to moderate-income households.
And while these programs don’t get all the glitz and glamour, they have a huge impact on the lives of many.
Ray Sanchez Topasna, executive director, GHURA