A Word From Our Executive Director

 Kurt Wiest websiteFourteen years ago I was introduced to Bremerton Housing Authority by a recruiter who said he had the perfect job for me.  At the time, I was happily working for the Housing Authority of Alameda County (HACA) in Hayward, CA as their Deputy Director for Programs.  I’d been there for over 16 years and was not looking to move from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area.  However, the recruiter knew I was a native of the Pacific Northwest (Portland) and felt that I might be interested in returning to my roots. 

I was invited by the BHA board to come up to Bremerton for an interview and meet with then-Mayor Cary Bozeman.  My wife and I fell in love with the area and the awesome possibilities in front of BHA and ultimately accepted the board’s offer to be BHA’s next Executive Director.  The decision wasn’t made, however, without ensuring the move was in the best interest of my family.  It was, and the rest is history.  It was the perfect job for me.

Flash forward to the present.  My family situation is very different.  Instead of having teenagers, both my children are now well into their 30’s and independent.  I’m the proud grandfather of 3.  Now that our children are successfully launched into adulthood, my wife and I are focused on preparing for retirement and taking care of the needs of elderly parents.  Perhaps you can relate.

Over the last 6 months, my wife and I have felt impressed to focus our attention on the needs of an elderly parent in the Bay Area.  At the same time, my former employer has offered me the opportunity to come back as their Executive Director.  

As a result, I will soon be leaving BHA.  My last day will be Friday, June 26th.  I’m working with the BHA board and staff on transition plans and recruitment for a new Executive Director.  

I’m grateful for the many ways I’ve had over the last 14 years with BHA staff to make a difference in this community.  We’ve redeveloped West Park into a vibrant new mixed-income, mixed use neighborhood, increased the supply of affordable housing opportunities in Bremerton by over 60% in the last decade, acquired a diverse portfolio of safe, affordable, and visually-pleasing properties throughout the city, developed strong relationships with the Mayor, City Council, and many community-based organizations, set in motion the development of Bremerton’s first permanent support housing apartment building, and created an innovation local rental assistance program that has proven to be vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

My wife and I see this transition as one that is natural and normal for us.  We’re doing what’s best for our family.   We look forward to coming back to Kitsap County in a few years as our permanent home in retirement.   We view our departure as temporary, one in which we say “see you again soon”, rather than “goodbye”.  To the many supporters and partners of BHA over the years – thank you!  I’ve appreciated your interest, feedback, and mentoring.  I will miss you, BHA, and this community.

Click here for BHA Vision, Mission and State of Values.

Bremerton Housing Authority
600 Park Avenue
Bremerton, WA  98337

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