Territory’s new emergency shelter dedicated
Gov. Togiola Tulafono was joined by cabinet members and local leaders for last Friday’s dedication of the new “American Samoa Mapusaga Emergency Shelter” with the goal to provide temporary emergency shelter to residents in need of this service. (The word ”mapusaga” denotes shelter, or a place of refuge)
“This project appears insignificant, small and unassuming but it provides a most important service to our people,” Togiola told the gathering, which included Leiataua Leuga Turner, director of the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs, charged with the grant funded project, which was built in Lions Park.
“People will come here because they need help” because among other things, they “were battered...or homeless due to unforeseen circumstances,” said Togiola.
“They need some reprieve from what they have encountered in life,” he said adding that chances are, children from these kinds of affected families will end up in criminal activities and other problems. “But this home helps transition them back to their lives and families.”
He said families facing difficulties will need this home “to help regain control of their lives...and return back to society.”
ASG officials say this home will also provide temporary shelter for residents who become homeless due to an unforeseen circumstance, such as a fire. DYWA is working closely with the local non-profit Charity & Hope Ministries - headed by Aomalo Aumoeualogo - to oversee operations of the facility.
Staff with the non-profit group will be undergoing training with the help of DYWA on various issues dealing with this type of emergency shelter. The total cost of construction for the project was around $120,000.
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