Community Post

Pastor moves ahead on felon housing, invites neighbor help

In a conversation with CDNews, Reverend Jeffrey, pastor at New Hope Baptist Church, re-iterated his invitation for neighbors and other community members to get directly involved with his project to provide transitional housing for felons in a home in the 100 block of 22nd. But while he invited cooperation, he also made it clear that he intends to go forward with it even if some neighbors continue to object.

Jeffrey talks passionately about the need for the house. State budget cuts are increasing the number of people who will be released from prison this year, at a time when existing halfway houses and other transition facilities are already short of beds. Without a place to stay, some will be kept behind bars past their early release date. Others could be released anyway, left to fend for themselves in situations where they lack a support structure.

The program got its start from Jeffrey’s talks with Revered Jimmie James, who runs Interactive Transition, an established transitional residential facility at 16th and Spring. He has many files of prisoners who have been qualified for transitional housing, but all of his beds are full and he doesn’t have any place to put them. According to James, these facilities are in the best interest of the community, saying “it’s better for someone to have a place to stay than to be on the street. These programs increase community safety.  When you have a centralized community, when you know where people are, those people are far less likely to commit a crime.”

Reverend Jeffrey cites the participation of James’ IT House as a big plus for the project, as they will be directly involved in helping to select participants and provide the knowledge and a management structure to implement it.

But further questions continue to be raised about the project. We also spoke with Jim Tharpe, who runs a similar facility in Leschi that houses about six men at any one time. He said that there’s a lot of challenges to running these types of programs, such as managing a slow rate of churn among residents and making sure you have strong management and leadership within the house. And he says that recent decisions in the state legislature are not helping, as a proposal to change the landlord/tenant laws did not make it through to become law this year. That means that it could be very difficult for the proposed project to be managed, as misbehaving participants couldn’t be kicked out without going through the standard eviction process. “In the landlord tenant act, it says you can not go on the property if the tenants say they don’t want you there. If they choose not to be mentored or monitored, there’s nothing you can do.”

And while the overall effect on the community may be positive, it’s hard for neighbors right next to the project to see a benefit for them personally. Worries expressed at the meeting last week ranged from safety to the impact on property values. We asked Reverend Jeffrey if he would have similar concerns if someone set up a similar facility next to his home. He said he’s thought about that a lot, and decided that he would “go ask what can I do to make this better. How can I work with you to make this work?” And he said that anyone is welcome to come be a part of the project and join in the steering committee that will select which felons are invited to stay at the residence.

Jeffrey also made it clear that he was upset at the tone expressed at the previous meeting and in negative comments left on our news story about it. “We have to stop yelling a each other. The only reason there’s fear is because people don’t know what’s really going on in their neighborhood. People need to know what the facts are. But we’re not going to be intimidated by anyone. We’re going to serve our mission.”

The next meeting on the topic is this coming Monday at 7pm. As was agreed in the last meeting, Reverend Jeffrey gave us the documents that outline the management structure of the house, and those are linked above in this story.

We’re also told that Department of Corrections staff will be on hand at tonight’s East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition to provide more information on this topic.

0 thoughts on “Pastor moves ahead on felon housing, invites neighbor help

  1. The reverend seems to have continued with his same harsh tacticts, and seems to have no problem with open disrepect for the church neighbors, or for addressing their valid conserns. It often is people like this that claim to bring good to our neighborhoods, that more often than not actually seem to end up cramming their adjenda down our throats. Purhaps his perishoners will donate more to his pockets, beleiving they are helping these rehab facility occupants, but I am not certain that this rehab house will do much for the rest of us.

  2. I worry about Reverend Jeffrey’s comment of “We have to stop yelling a each other. The only reason there’s fear is because people don’t know what’s really going on in their neighborhood. People need to know what the facts are. But we’re not going to be intimidated by anyone. We’re going to serve our mission.”

    The reason why people are worried is that Reverend Jeffrey hasn’t given anyone in the neighborhood any detailed information about what he is planning. If he would openly communicate with the neighbors about the details of what he is planning much worry would be abated.

    Instead he speaks about helping people who need a place to stay. No one disputes this. However, since he hasn’t provided any details of what he is adding to the neighborhood people, of course, are doubtful. And what, is his mission? I, for one, haven’t seen a mission statement.

    Reverend Jeffry promised in the community meeting on 2/15 to post the details of the program here on the CD News. Perhaps I’ve missed a posting, but where are the details? And as for people in the neighborhood being intimidating, I, for one, only read one posting that could be considered as remotely intimidating. The rest of the comments have been asking for information or tolerance. This situation really could have been avoided if the Reverend had taken a different tack a month or two back. Instead he created this situation by his lack of proactive communication – and now he is using the word “intimated”. Perhaps it is the neighbors who feel intimidated by his actions?

  3. “We’re not going to be intimidated”

    Typical tactic: Paint yourself and your congregation as victims when you’re pushing some obnoxious issue through. Works every time.

  4. The details, which are some program management documents, are linked at the top left of this story

  5. All the people questioning what this man wants to do, why do you care? How does this felon housing affect you in anyway? What will chang in your daily life? Nothing!! Sorry if this is raciest but I’m pretty sure all the people who don’t want it in the neighborhood or who demand their questions answered are random white folks who moved into the CD within the last 5 years

    if I’m wrong prove it…….

  6. What better way to create affordable housing than to open a place like this…’ll do wonders for the neighborhood’s property values, making it far more affordable. Isn’t that what everyone in the CD wants?

  7. Why, indeed, that is racist!

    Using your reasoning I could say ‘I guess black families and home owners like having convicts in the neighborhood’.

    But I wouldn’t say that….. it’d be racist.

  8. You own (if you really own witch most of you don’t) your house that you live in and maybe the car out front and the 1-10 dogs
    running around inside barking all day, and your bike…..worry about those things, anything outside of that doesn’t need your say, esspecially when it does not involve you in any way at all.

  9. “Why, indeed, that is racist!

    Using your reasoning I could say ‘I guess black families and home owners like having convicts in the neighborhood’.

    But I wouldn’t say that….. it’d be racist.”

    That’s not being raciest, but incorect, I was just stating the fact, racist or not am I right? You personaly know I am.

    But I’m not saying they’d like felons in their neighborhood, they just won’t worry/care about it, no need for stupid meetings about it, making it such a big deal when it doesn’t affect anyone in anyway.

    Look at it as positive and negative,

    black folks are trying to do something positive for society and you white folks are so negative about it…

  10. Is have a community meeting About these dog owners not picking up after their dogs, the whole central district is covered in S***, that’s a real issue, all of our parks grass areas are littered with dog s***, kids can easily roll in it, touch it, taste it while out playing.

  11. “they just won’t worry/care about it”

    Not caring is how neighborhoods become unlivable.

    Yeah your totally right, but programs like this don’t make neighborhoods unlivable,
    dirty dog s*** everywhere does.

  12. This is a neat idea (if you’re a pathetic bleeding heart). Have fun with that. Oh by the way, thank you for at least doing it in the Central District (where most of the scumbags already hang out) and not near my neighborhood. Can we build a fence around you guys?

  13. Yes, it’s racist (not “raciest”), and if you attend the meeting on Monday, you will see that not “all the people who don’t want it in the neighborhood” are white folks. Get a clue. And a spell checker.

  14. Dear Reverend Jeffery,
    Is there a good reason why you cannot keep one of the units open for you to live in part time?

    One of the biggest concerns is neighbors living in the immediate area, like a house or two away. You live several blocks away. While you are volunteering your time and energy on this project, the next door neighbors of this project are in a sense volunteering to be on the front line of this experiment. It’s a laudable idea, but it seems like it’d be a vote of confidence on your part to have some skin in the game.

    outside observer who lives far away from this project

  15. The document seems to be more a case file and intake form in stead of basic documents on the mission of the organization, the experience of the staff in both managing a transitional house itself and case management. Plus how will these guys be assisted in finding employment etc I mean what does it mean going out in the community at large? Anybody, I don’t care what their race, should ask questions about a transitional living facility and how its run and the leadership and structure is important because you have people transitioning out of super structured environment to one that isn’t where they can make their own decisions and that can be tough for some folks. Let alone, sometimes its better for people to start over outside of their own neighborhood so they don’t get caught up in the same dramas and or temptations that might have led them to the path to jail in the first place. And given the funding situation the financial information on how this place will stay afloat for the next 5 years, including costs of supportive services should be clear as well. There is a real need for transitional housing. And an even greater need for it to be done right, because at the end of the day, the Rev is taking responsibility for these former inmates lives and how the transition not just back into living on their own, but living within a community. And all the bluster about who lives where and knows what about the community, is just throwing shade on answering some real management, operational and financial questions.

  16. This sounds like the Casa Latina deal all over again. I hope for the resident’s sake (home OWNERS) that there is a way to keep Mr. do-gooder from bringing felons to this neighborhood. Why is it that we have to pay for his guilty feelings? He should house them IN HIS HOME!

  17. Oh please, enough with this “racist” stuff.

    It’s not racist to be concerned about myself and my child’s well-being. I am concerned about the fact that there will be ex-felons congregated in one place, like we don’t have enough to deal with in our neighborhoods.

    I am wondering if there are going to be zoning issues for the church. It would be worth a few questions at the building department in the planning division to find out what the regulations are.

  18. Being an architect, I have had more than my share of experience dealing with building departments.

    If someone can provide me with some basic information on where this “facility” is to be, the number of residents, etc, I wouldn’t mind going to the zoning division downtown and getting information on the legality of it.

  19. Your civilty and expertise are welcome and appreciated.

    The unit is located at 113 22nd Ave.

    He wants 16 residents to live there (at least that’s the latest I’ve heard). There aren’t many specifics known about it yet.

  20. and Rev. Jeffries said 8-10…… Some one else speculated that he might be able to get around the non-related eight person rule because the present use was a duplex (according to the King County Assessor’s Office.)

    Per Parcel Lookup, this is a 3-bedroom, 1 3/4 bathroom
    113 22ND AVE
    SEATTLE WA 98122
    Parcel number 9826701565
    Present use Duplex
    Total living sq. ft. 2,300
    1st floor sq. ft. 1,150
    Half floor sq. ft. 200
    2nd floor sq. ft. 0
    Upper floor sq. ft. 0
    Total basement sq. ft. 1,150
    Open porch sq. ft. 50
    Bedrooms 3
    Baths 1

  21. I have never before seen such hateful people than the Black and White people I’ve seen here in Seattle. Name calling and finger pointing are stall tactics. Most people that revert to these tactics really don’t like themselves and don’t want to see any human progress. So just overlook them and don’t take your eye off your mission.