On October 2, 2022, Bremerton Housing Authority was one of six awardees who received a 2022 Friend of Housing Award at the statewide Housing Washington Conference in Spokane, WA. The awards were presented by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to those with “exceptional dedication to increasing housing, fighting homelessness and serving people in Washington” and to those who “truly make a difference in our state and in their communities.”
To view the award full award presentation, click HERE.
We were selected for the award based on our efforts to identify and mitigate barriers that continue to hinder individuals and families in their search for affordable housing. This started with how we challenged the Fair Market Rent (FMR) calculation in late 2021 to ensure the FMRs accurately reflect the housing prices in Kitsap County. This had a direct impact on the buying power of Housing Choice (Section 8) voucher holders by increasing the amount of subsidy we could provide for rental assistance by nearly 20 percent, making approximately 40 percent of private market rental homes in Kitsap County more affordable.
Read more about this effort to increase FMRs, in partnership with Housing Kitsap, in the Kitsap Sun article HERE.
Affordability was only the first obstacle. We also received the award for our continued focus on ensuring more housing was available. We started by cultivating our relationships with landlords through our landlord liaison program; partnering with Kitsap County, the WA State Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and the non-profit, Olive Crest, to provide Foster Youth to Independence vouchers to young people aging out of foster care; receiving a $1.5 million dollar grant to purchase five new homes to house larger families; and presenting “Ready to Rent,” our new free rental education program designed to equip current and future renters with the tools they need to find their next home.
It’s been one month since Bremerton Housing Authority received this prestigious award for our response to the housing crisis in Kitsap County. This has given us time to reflect on how much we accomplished this year and how far we still need to go. We could not have made such a powerful impact without the support of our community, clients, and committed stakeholders and will continue to work to fulfill the promise Commissioner Joan Hanten made during her acceptance speech:
Simply and sincerely, thank you.”
To start, we will be joining other Friend of Housing awardees to talk more about what this award means to our community on November 4, 2022 over Zoom.
To learn more and register for this virtual Housing WA event, click HERE.
Click here for BHA Vision, Mission, and Statement of Values.