Happy 50th Anniversary, GHURA!
In November 1962, Super-Typhoon Karen hit Guam and devastated the island. The typhoon had winds in excess of 180 mph. It moved over Guam so slowly, it destroyed over 90% of all the homes and buildings. In the aftermath, the island looked like a war zone. I was a young boy then, but that experience still remains vivid in my mind. Many of the houses and buildings before the typhoon hit were constructed of wood and tin, thus, the extensive devastation. Because of the damage it did on Guam, the name “Karen” was retired and has never been used to name a typhoon since then.
But there was a silver lining that came out of all that suffering. One month later, the Guam legislature passed a bill that was signed into law creating the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA).
President Kennedy declared Guam a disaster area, which released federal funds to help rebuild Guam. Concrete and steel became the norm for construction of houses and commercial buildings. In 1962, the population of Guam was about 60,000. Today, 50 years later, our population is around 160,000. Guam has grown tremendously since that typhoon in 1962. And so has GHURA.
Over the past 50 years, GHURA has built communities all around Guam from Merizo to Dededo . Currently, with its annual funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for its Section 8 voucher program to the Public Housing program, GHURA serves over 3,200 individuals, couples and families.
On the others side of the equation, GHURA receives funding from HUD that it can use in support of developers and contractors, willing to build affordable homes and communities for qualified individuals, couples, families. There is available funding as well to build community-oriented facilities such as community centers, healthcare clinics, fire and police stations.
From the days after Typhoon Karen, and through many more typhoons thereafter, GHURA never faltered in its mission to help low and moderate income families achieve their dream of living in a safe and decent home to start out on the road to prosperity, and to raise their families.
It is truly an exciting time for GHURA at this point in time, as we embark on the next 50 years, remaining steadfast and focused on our mission to build affordable homes and communities for our fellow citizens.
On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, and the staff and management of GHURA, we sincerely thank the people of Guam for the opportunity to serve them. May we be blessed to continue that service for the next 50 years!
David J. Sablan
© Copyright Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA). All the grants and programs discussed on this website are meant to benefit the residents of Guam, as per United States Federal Regulations.