‘Supply chain issues’ delay opening of housing for homeless

TRANSITIONAL HOMES NEEDED: Julie Gaa, a homeless woman, holds a sign asking for donations April 25 in Tamuning. Gaa said she is lucky that she is now staying at the Plaza Hotel Homeless Shelter. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

The $3 million project to purchase and renovate a second transitional or emergency homeless shelter in Anigua has been delayed.

Officials haven't said when the apartment complex was expected to be ready to be opened as a shelter, but it looks as though that might take a little while longer.

Stephanie Flores of the Guam State Clearinghouse said she's recently learned from the contractor that there are "supply chain issues that are impeding the renovations."

"We have shipping issues just like everybody else, and there are some very important items in that packet that need to be in, otherwise the unit won't be habitable," Flores said.

"There were some things that needed to be replaced, like cabinets and things that make it safe for people to occupy those units. We needed to change some of the tiles so that they're safer, you know, not slippery," she said. "We just need to make sure they're durable and safe and we get all those things in there."

Flores had previously noted the apartment complex is located near Chode Mart in Anigua. It would be the third shelter opened under the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration, though the first, Global Dorm in Maite, was shut down.

Renovation costs

Flores said the total amount of the acquisition and renovation was $3 million. That amount, according to The Guam Daily Post files, is from a federal grant.

With regard to the cost of the renovation, she noted that "across the board construction cost has increased during the course of the pandemic."

"It has increased so it has forced us to make some considerations about ... what we're doing but it also forces us to look at other resources to shore up the services that go along with running that shelter," she said.

"We've got to make sure we not only have a shelter but that we have a case manager in place, we have the safety plans in place, we have all the wraparound services that are necessary and that's where (the Office of Homelessness Assistance and Poverty Prevention) comes in to do all of those things.

"My job is to make sure we got the funding for the facility, DOA is procuring it and doing the renovations and then after that we have OHAPP to help us run (the facility).

"I know we went back and forth on some of the negotiations. ... Once we were able to do full inspections I believe there was some adjustments in the prices made once we determined that significant renovations were needed to be made – more than was revealed. Because it was recently renovated when we purchased it ... but some of the renovation work needed to be redone. Unfortunately, that's the situation and we want to make sure that any facility we have is safe and in the best condition possible. We want to do it right and we want to do it right the first time."

Operations

Flores has said OHAPP is preparing the guidelines for the facility and will be working on acquiring case management.

Catholic Social Service operates the Tamuning shelter, and the nonprofit organization Mañelu provides case management operations.

The cost to manage and procure the Tamuning site is paid through a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which covers one year of operations.

The Tamuning site was meant to be a second shelter to alleviate crowding at Global Dorm. Officials had said concerns about safety and health led to its closure.

Tenorio has said, in reference to the third site in Anigua, that it would serve a dual purpose: emergency receiving of clients for services and some early transitional housing for stabilization.

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