By Corinth Aguon, LMSW Clinician
According to 2022 data from the Guam Homeless Coalition, there are about 1,087 individuals experiencing homelessness in Guam. With substance use disorders being one of the major contributing factors to housing instability on the island, the need for treatment focusing on alcohol, illicit drug, and prescription drug misuse is more relevant than ever. WestCare Pacific Islands (WPI) sought to address this need by establishing its newest treatment and recovery program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA).
Håtsa, or “To Uplift” in the Chamorro language, is WPI’s intensive outpatient program that provides evidenced-based behavioral health counseling and substance use treatment to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. The team behind the program understands that clients face many barriers in their path to wellness. Recognizing that housing has been one of the most critical needs in our community, Håtsa is guided by the Housing First philosophy, which seeks to make housing stabilization a priority for clients in treatment. The program’s wrap-around case management is also available to connect clients with community resources and address unmet needs. Additional services under Håtsa include emergency food and shelter support for enrolled clients.
Although the program has just begun, it has been met with optimism and eagerness by the island community. The Håtsa team continues to look forward to raising up clients and their families, one step at a time. With hope and resiliency, we rise together.