Taking on the role of Interim Executive Director is proving to be wonderful opportunity for me to learn from and celebrate all the components that make up the Bremerton Housing Authority as an organization. From our internal support functions to our resident and property management team, we rely on each other to achieve our collective vision: a future where everyone has the opportunity for a home that is safe and affordable, people are treated with respect regardless of their income level or background, and a person’s income level cannot be identified by the neighborhood in which they live.
In my first outreach through our BHA website, I would like to share some of what I have learned about one of our amazing teams: The Community Connections Team (CCT). In short, the CCT Team provides supportive services for individuals and families receiving a subsidy from BHA. This dedicated team works with our participants to help them stay connected to their community in terms of job training, financial literacy, wellness, education, and career advancement. Did you know that our CCT Team is a recipient of the 2020 Award of Merit from NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials)? As you can see in the picture below (from left to right), our award-winning team is made up of Tasha Walton, Charlette Riley and Carol Zborowski. I am so proud of the work that Tasha, Charlette and Carol do, and I bet you will be too as I share just a little about what I have learned about their work.
Tasha and her job training work:
Tasha leads BHA’s on-the-job training efforts for our participants and the community at large. Our Barista program is a hands-on intensive opportunity for participants to learn the daily routine of the coffee business. It involves learning professional skills such as handling cash, daily deposits and expanding on their personal skills such as customer service and team communication. Tasha is particularly excited about the opportunity she gets to help Barista participants grow in their leadership skills by helping new trainees. One of the aspects of this work that is most rewarding for Tasha is being able to work with participants from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some participants have not worked in decades to young adults who have no professional experience at all. Tasha guides them through the 160-hour program to graduation and helps them use BHA’s computer lab to develop their resumes and apply for jobs.
Charlette Riley and her FSS work:
Charlette facilitates BHA’s FSS work (Family Self Sufficiency). By self-sufficiency, Charlette helps our Housing Choice Voucher participants with their own journeys toward independence from Section 8 assistance. For some that might mean helping them improve their credit, for others it might be creating a budget or obtaining their GED. Many FSS participants are interested in purchasing a home, so Charlette partners with them to map out a path for home ownership which involves meeting with them on a regular basis to identify obstacles and discuss solutions.
Carol Zborowski and her ROSS work:
Carol is BHA’s ROSS Coordinator (Resident Opportunity Self-Sufficiency). While she is on the look out to be of service to all our senior participants, Carol’s primary focus is BHA’s Public Housing. The ROSS program encourages housing authorities to help our seniors “age in place”. Aging in place results in a higher quality of life both physically and emotionally for seniors because it helps them stay in their own homes rather than transferring them to a nursing home. Her work covers such a wide range of activities: personal activities, meals-on-wheels, smart phone classes and even tackling some of the harder challenges such as hoarding. Carol emphasized to me that BHA is one part of a comprehensive web of support for our seniors that includes over 30 different local organizations working together to meet the needs of our seniors.
On behalf of everyone here at BHA, I want to thank our CCT team and I look forward to sharing more with you about the people who help BHA work toward its mission day in/day out.
Click here for BHA Vision, Mission and Statement of Values.