Bremerton Housing Authority was honored to participate in Juneteenth Resource Fair on June 17, 2021, as well as take part in the Juneteenth Bremerton March and Celebration on June 19, 2021. As we celebrate this important part of our history, we also understand that efforts toward racial equity must continue. The Bremerton Housing Authority’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassadors published our first DE&I agency newsletter this month. Our leadership team also had an insightful discussion with our Board of Commissioners at our recent budget planning meeting about our DE&I initiatives. While we will continue our diligent internal efforts, we will simultaneously employ external efforts to address racial equity issues in our programs that affect the people that we serve and house.
We received an allocation of 38 Emergency Housing Vouchers which will be effective on July 1, 2021. The administration of these vouchers requires direct referrals of applicants from Continuum of Care organizations to the City’s Coordinated Entry Agency which is the KCR Housing Solutions Center. BHA must gather community input for prioritizing the referred applicants and must employ strategies to address racial equity both in our prioritization efforts and in the distribution of the emergency housing vouchers. We are in the gathering of information process now and our goal is to start issuing these vouchers in July. This requires a community effort. Although, there are only 38 vouchers, this is 38 families/individuals who will have a resource to be housed without having to go through the normal waitlist process. There is also funding available to assist with barriers to leasing up such as security deposit assistance and moving expenses. If we are successful in getting our 38 vouchers leased, we may have the opportunity to receive more. Please contact us if you would like more information.
In addition, a top priority is the full utilization of our Housing Choice Voucher allocation. We are issuing 50 vouchers a week as we work through the 600 applicants recently selected from our waitlist. If you receive a voucher and you need assistance or have questions, please contact Sarah Van Cleve at 360-616-7140. We are in the process of hiring a Landlord Liaison who will be responsible to help our voucher holders find and successfully lease units and to support and provide information to our landlords. Other assistance may also be available. We are here to help and to serve our program participants. Please contact us if you need our assistance.
In ending, I want to recognize that June is LGBTQ PRIDE month. PRIDE month is celebrated each year to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. As we embrace diversity and celebrate our differences, we remain committed to ensuring that our programs are equally available to all and that we treat everyone with genuine dignity and respect. Happy PRIDE month and Happy Juneteenth! Jill
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