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Civilian-military panel resumes talks on labor and housing solutions for Guam

Updated: Jul 8, 2023



By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Guam leaders and military officials have stepped up plans to explore solutions to address the perennial labor shortage on island and confront the challenges of the housing market.


The housing crisis on Guam was among several topics discussed by the Civil-Military Coordination Council at the Joint Region Marianas headquarters on June 29. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman, the new JRM commander, convened the council following a change of command on June 21.


"Commitments were made to continue small working group meetings to discuss the way forward for housing solutions, and participants prepared action lists and made plans for continued coordination," said Catherine Cruz-Norton, deputy public affairs officer for JRM.


"The team committed to continuing dialogue at the next CMCC, which is tentatively scheduled for sometime later this year," she added.


The military buildup, which entails several construction projects within defense installations and beyond the fence, underscored the intertwined problems of labor shortage and housing deficit on Guam.


The limited manpower resources on island are being diverted to Marine Corps Camp Blaz, making it more difficult for local developers to build more rental units.


The island is facing a continued shortage of affordable housing and an inability to adequately house the rapidly growing construction workforce.


Real estate industry leaders said the growing military presence has been driving rent prices on Guam.


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"CMCC meetings aim to foster collaboration between the Department of Defense and the government of Guam," JRM said in a press release.


Norton said the June 29 meeting discussed a wide range of topics including pet air transportation for military personnel assigned to Guam.


More than a dozen GovGuam agencies were represented, including the Department of Public Works, the Guam Department of Labor, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the Guam International Airport, the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, and the Department of Land Management.


The meeting ran for more than two hours as government agency directors and personnel from multiple service branches shared updates and brainstormed solutions to common challenges.


This council meeting was the first for Huffman who expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share knowledge among so many subject matter experts.


“This is a critical partnership and helps ensure we work as a team,” Huffman said. “I’m impressed by the amount of information shared, and I am confident that we will continue to work together closely.”


The CMCC, which was established in 2010, "provides a forum for open communication to holistically approach and resolve topics as partners," JRM said.


The council meets at least once a year.


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