The Bremerton Housing Authority will be opening our Section 8, Housing Choice Voucher waitlist Monday, March 22nd through Friday, March 26th. Applicants will need their name, social security number and an email address to apply. Reasonable accommodations are available. Applicants can call 360-616-7121 if they need help obtaining an email address, getting access to a computer, or do not have a social security number. If they do not have a social security number, the housing authority will issue them an alternate number that can be used on their application until one can be obtained. When the application period closes, BHA will hold a lottery, and 600 applications will be pulled from the pool and added to the waitlist.
BHA is committed to an equitable process in our waitlist opening and has greatly expanded our efforts to reach underserved and underrepresented communities. We are partnering with the NAACP and their Vital Communications team. We connected with Kitsap Community Resources and their Housing Solutions Center. And we are getting grassroots volunteer help from participants in the recent Census campaign. Our outreach campaign includes social media tools, videos, Q&A materials, and translation services into different languages. These represent new approaches for our Housing Authority.
The shortage of affordable housing and housing payment assistance is a national crisis. Bremerton and Kitsap County struggle to meet the demand, and we are all working together through various programs to help with this challenge. The Bremerton Housing Authority is developing a strategic plan to increase our voucher program, preserve existing affordable housing, and increase our local affordable housing stock. Opening and expanding our waitlist is one of these efforts. This waitlist opening will be different than in years past and we need our community to work beside us. BHA currently has 1,894 vouchers allocated from HUD. However, the federal funding in past years only allowed approximately 1,300 vouchers to be issued. We are expecting a 14.1% increase this year in our housing assistance payment funding and have closely analyzed our reserves currently being held by HUD. Our projections indicate that with a bold plan we can issue all our vouchers over the next two years and that is our goal. This means that when our waitlist opens, not only will applicants go on a list to replace current voucher attrition, but we will also have many more vouchers to issue.
While it is great news that we will be issuing more vouchers and bringing more federal funding into our community, we are concerned that the shortage of housing will make it difficult for voucher recipients to find housing. We are addressing this issue by implementing a strategic landlord outreach plan and working on ways to assist our voucher holders in leasing up. Over the next few months, we will hold landlord education sessions, reach directly out to landlords to provide information, and employ efforts to reduce barriers for our voucher holders to obtain housing. We are asking our community partners and our community to help us with these efforts. Together, we can think creatively to find resources not available in past years, and we need landlords to participate in our program.
The Bremerton Housing Authority is committed to the people that we serve. We truly believe that we can make a difference in solving the affordable housing crisis in our community and will be a leader in these efforts. We ask that our community stand beside us, support us, and work with us to be the difference in the lives of people who need a safe and affordable place to call home.
Click here for BHA Vision, Mission and Statement of Values.