CSS launches ‘Gai’ Animas,’ improves response to victims, adds emergency housing options

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For the Umatuna Si Yu’os

Catholic Social Service (CSS) launched the “Gai’ Animas” Project on June 1, 2019, establishing a new coordinated entry system for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. This also expands emergency and short-term housing for victims feeling violence. “Gai’ Animas” is a Chamorro phrase meaning “have courage.”

The Gai’ Animas Project is a Domestic Violence Bonus Allocation under the Continuum of Care Grant awared to the Guam Homeless Coalition (GHC). The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) is the collaborative partner with GHC. The grant will lay a foundation for a coordinated entry system to improve efficiency of  response to victims and adds to housing options for emergency and short-term housing. Gai’ Animas is a 12-month project and will be a joint collaboration with Victim Advocates Reaching Out (VARO), Guma Mami, Inc., Sanctuary, Inc., The Salvation Army, and Mañelu (formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters).

The various organizations above provide housing assistance and services or operate protective shelters for victims and their children. But, often, victims may not  be readily admitted to Alee Shelter due to full occupancy. This leads victims having to return to their abusers or experience homelessness until there is a vacancy. It also limits the ability to assist victims pursuing independence.

Gai’ Animas will use the existing network of services provided to victims, but will add resources as follows:

  1. Victim referrals will continue to be received from the Guam Police Department, VARO, other organizations, or self-referrals from victims.
  2. If shelters are at full occupancy, VARO will coordinate emergency housing as needed.
  3. Short-term housing up to six months may be provided depending on the victim situation.
  4. Transition housing may be provided to victims who meet certain criteria for up to 12 months.
  5. Permanent housing assistance using rapid re-housing funds may be provided for victims who are employed and need assistance with security deposits, first month rent, and utilities connection.
  6. Mañelu will provide on-call interpreter services to provide linguistic and culturally appropriate support to victims during initial intake and during outreaches.

CSS has been serving Guam since 1979 and continues to serve the needy in our community. Together with our partners in this effort, we ask for your prayers and community support.

Find out more, email info@cssguam.org or call 635-1409.