By Gina T. Reilly
Attorney General Douglas Moylan has recruited community organizations to assist in sending Guam’s homeless out of the streets and into the workplace.
Moylan wrote separate letters to Catherine Castro, president of the Guam Chamber of Commerce; and James Martinez, president of the Guam Contractors Association, asking them to help working-age homeless people find jobs.
“This would allow them to have a respectable income they control, and to participate in revitalizing our economy, and burgeoning construction industry,” Moylan said.“It would also potentially breaks the ‘cycle of homelessness.’”
Based on the most recent count, Guam had about 790 homeless people.
Lt. Gov. Joshua A. Tenorio, Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares and Jesse Alig, chairman of the Mayors’ Council of Guam, have launched an initiative to relocate the homeless people who are building encampments throughout the island if not panhandling along the roads.
The relocation effort will begin in Dededo near the Micronesia Mall.
“These persons include adult men and women, of working age. After our operation commences, these people will be brought to the Dededo Flea Market where support services will be made immediately available for them,” Moylan said.
But relocation alone will not bring an end to Guam’s homeless problem, Moylan said.
“The main intent of the initiative is to help these disadvantaged persons, and to make opportunities directly available to them so they might get back on their feet and have an income they can earn, versus simply receiving a handout,” Moylan said.
In a separate letter to Mary Okada, president of Guam Community College, Moylan proposed that the homeless be recruited for potential trades training and given full or partial scholarships.
“This would allow them to participate in our burgeoning construction industry at a good wage,” Moylan said.
“We wish to provide them the dignity and respect for themselves that gainful employment and work gives a person. I respectfully submit that investing into our people is a better investment into our future than finding off-island employees,” he added.