We first met Nicia when she was living in a makeshift home of pallets and a tarp in Dededo, Guam. The 39-year-old single mother was homeless and would seek our help with blankets and towels to keep her children dry and safe from the rain and mosquitoes. She sought help from us at Catholic Social Service for a new tarp and food after her family was assaulted by neighboring rovers who ripped her tent and stole her food. She would ask CSS for baby diapers and milk for the three youngest children living with her in the tent. Nicia has 8 children: 5 daughters and 3 sons, ages 1, 2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, and 16 years old. Her husband had passed away within that year and life seemed to get tougher for Nicia and her family.
After some encouragement, Nicia was finally convinced to sign up for temporary shelter at one of CSS’s homeless shelters, Guma San Jose, and was put on a waitlist. She was eventually taken in with her whole family, which required at least 2 units to accommodate her large family. Guma San Jose shelter and caseworkers not only assist with shelter, food, and necessities, but also help clients out of homelessness by helping with acquiring healthcare, documents, employment, and transition to permanent housing. During this time, Nicia and her family moved in and out of the shelter, but managed to stay afloat with assistance and the hope of permanent housing. Nicia had applied for housing assistance with the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) and after many months, she was accepted into their housing program.
Upon hearing of her acceptance, Nicia saved her money to secure the required deposit and hook up utilities at the available unit. As with all transitioning clients, CSS assisted her with some housewares, clothing, food and other necessities to help start a new home. She is now the proud tenant of a 5-bedroom, 3 bathroom home with enough space inside and out for her children to safely sleep and play, something Nicia desperately wanted for her children. Something they had not yet experienced.
Today, Nicia has a new addition to her family, a 10-month-old grandson born while the family was still homeless. We had the chance to visit them recently and Nicia and her daughter, Shannon, shared the experience of their hard journey. They expressed happiness, relief, and gratitude for having made it out of homelessness and for the help that was provided by CSS along the way. She is a person of great faith and perseverance. We wish Nicia and her family health, happiness, and more successes in the coming years.