Community Post

Felon housing: No deal with DOC, meeting tonight (?)

Tonight is the scheduled meeting between the New Hope Baptist Church pastor and the church’s neighbors to continue the conversation about the pastor’s plans for a transitional housing program for recently released felons.

We’ve heard from a neighbor that flyers were distributed that listed the meeting as Thursday. We’re following up with church staff this morning to try and clear that up, and will update this story once we find out.

Update: We’ve placed several calls and left a message, but have not heard back from the church whether the meeting is on. We’ll be there regardless

New information also came out of the EPCPC meeting late last week, where a large contingent of Department of Corrections staffers tried to clear up confusion about their role in the project. Donta Harper, DOC manager for community corrections in King County, said that “the department is not in any sort of agreement or partnership with Mr. Jeffrey,” and that DOC has not had any conversations with the pastor about the project, but that they would try to set up a meeting with him very soon.

However, the lack of an agreement or partnership is not necessarily an obstacle to the project. When prisoners are released to the community, it can be either with or without ongoing supervision. If supervision is not a condition of their release, they can live anywhere they want, including in congregant housing of the type Reverend Jeffrey envisions.

If a felon is released with supervision, then DOC officers have to specifically approve the place where the felon will live. That place could be a group residence such as is planned by New Hope, if DOC staff were confident that it was in the best interest of that person.

Felons under supervision qualify for a $500 monthly housing voucher for the first three months of their release. That voucher has been cited as one way to cover the costs of running the transitional housing project. However, Reverend Jeffrey says that they only expect that vouchers will pay the lease on the building, and that it will not be a profit-making enterprise.

Update: We spoke with Alan Justad from the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, who said that they’ve looked into this specific situation and found that it is a legal duplex, and can house up to 8 unrelated people per unit without any further permits.

Assistant City Attorney Jim Kenny was also at the EPCPC meeting, and said that there could be issues with city permitting as well. A residence of this type could be considered Congregant Housing, which requires a specific permit and additional parking spaces to accomodate all of the residents. Although such a permit does not require public notification, the planning department would accept public comment on the application.

This story has more twists, turns, and complexity than any other we’ve covered. So stay tuned as we all learn more.

0 thoughts on “Felon housing: No deal with DOC, meeting tonight (?)

  1. Basic rules per SMC: If 8 or less, its a household. If 9 or more, its a congregate residence.

    Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 23 – Land Use Definitions.

    “Congregate residence” means a use in which rooms or lodging, with or without meals, are provided for nine or more non-transient persons not constituting a single household, excluding single-family residences for which special or reasonable accommodation has been granted.

    “Household” means a housekeeping unit consisting of any number of related persons; eight (8) or fewer non-related, non-transient persons; or eight (8) or fewer related and non-related non-transient persons, unless a grant of special or reasonable accommodation allows an additional number of persons.

    So, if the home is limited to eight residents there is no review or involvement from DPD.

  2. Absolutely non-transient. At the last meeting, Rev. Jeffries said that residents would be allowed to remain at the house for as long as one year post release from prison.

  3. Peggy is right – we confirmed this with the DPD this morning (see update in the story above). The “non-transient” clause doesn’t apply since the flow of residents isn’t changing on a daily basis.

  4. Thank you for the updates.
    At the EPCPC meeting it was implied that there would be one tonight and possibly one on Thursday.

  5. At the meeting two weeks ago, Rev. Jeffrey said the DOC was due that Friday for an inspection. But according to DOC:

    Donta Harper, DOC manager for community corrections in King County, said that “the department is not in any sort of agreement or partnership with Mr. Jeffrey,” and that DOC has not had any conversations with the pastor about the project, but that they would try to set up a meeting with him very soon.

  6. If you want this to go away, keep on him. The “Reverend” Jeffries will eventually cross a line, do something that he shouldn’t or go further than he is allowed. Truly the best way to do it is to lay down, watch his every move and when he makes a big enough mistake, call him to the carpet. Casa Latina snuck into our neighborhood using deceptive tacticts and had we handled it correctly rather than throwing our arms up and showing our cards early, we could have stopped them.
    My advice is to lay low, watch him like a hawk and when he breaks enough rules that can’t be gone back on immediately, then strike.

    One other thing: Follow the money. I guarantee you he is doing this for fiscal gain; be that for personal or for his “Church” (which also benefits him personally) there is money involved and profit to be made from this.

  7. We haven’t been able to confirm with the church that the meeting is happening, but we’re assuming that it is. New Hope Baptist Church, 21st & Fir, 7pm

  8. I live pretty near Casa Latina, and I haven’t seen any problems at all from its presence. What new issues has it caused?

  9. This is NOT a permitted 6 bedroom house.

    From KC Assessor website:

    113 22nd Ave: 3 Bedroom 1.75 Bath

    Look up Tax Parcel – 9826701565


    Seattle Department of Planning and Development ( – look up address 113 22nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

    – No history of permits to add bedrooms (beyond 3)

    – CURRENT active Housing and Building Maintenance Code violation (Case # 1020252). Failed re-inspection twice!

    Address 113 22nd Ave Ordinance HOUSING / ZONING: HOUSING
    Case Status Not resolved Inspector MCALLISTER, DEBORAH
    Service Request # 27839
    Notes Violations of the HBMC Resolution Date

    Action Code Status Date Case Action Type Description
    CM Jul 21, 2009 Complaint Made
    VIOL Jul 29, 2009 VIOLATION
    Inspection Jul 29, 2009 Inspection:1 Failed
    NOV Oct 05, 2009 NOTICE OF VIOLATION: ISSUED Compliance due:01-NOV-09
    NOV Oct 05, 2009 NOTICE OF VIOLATION: SENT Compliance due:01-NOV-09
    EXTENSION Oct 30, 2009 EXTENSION: ISSUED Compliance due:15-NOV-09
    Inspection Feb 18, 2010 Inspection:2 Failed
    AMENDED NOV Feb 22, 2010 AMENDED NOTICE OF VIOLATION: SENT Compliance due:21-MAR-10

  10. Well, gee MKB…What has it caused? Well, let’s see….it is an organization that draws $750,000.00 per fiscal year from the city of Seattle’s general fund and an even $1,000,000.00 per fiscal year from the state of Washington to provide assistance to illegal immigrants so as they may gain day labor employment for CASH that is not taxed or reported. So, our tax dollars go to fund an illegal activity! But other than that, not much…Oh yeah, and a great deal of the money goes to pay Hilary Stern a sizeable salary to do almost nothing. BTW she lives on Mercer Island. She needs the money.

  11. Someone else said it earlier: “Follow the money”. Do this and you will find the grail.

  12. Hello everyone,
    This is Hilary Stern, the Executive Director of Casa Latina. I feel compelled to respond to the misinformation posted by Fishtank. 1) Casa Latina is not engaging in any illegal activity. 2) Casa Latina does not receive any money from the State for operations and receives $149,890 in annual support from the City of Seattle. (Both are a matter of public record). 3) I, like all employees of Casa Latina, make modest salaries that are below market rate for King County non-profits, according to the United Way Annual Salary and Benefit Survey. 4) I don’t live in Mercer Island and have never lived in Mercer Island. (I honestly don’t know where that came from. It seems silly to argue about where I live, but my grandparents and parents grew up in the Central District and I grew up in a middle class neighborhood in the North End of Seattle, where I still live.)

  13. As a resident of the Central District and proud supporter of Casa Latina, I feel compelled to respond to fishtank’s comment. Casa Latina is not involved in anything illegal. This organization provides a number of valuable services and opportunities to people who live all over Seattle, and I am very happy that they are in the neighborhood. Go Casa Latina!

  14. I am a lifetime Seattle resident and worker/employer in the building trades. I commend Casa Latina’s work in organizing day laborers. Day laborers are a group that often is grossly exploited. I have seen workers in this situation routinely hired to do the most undesirable work, with no regard given to their long term employment, and then paid low wages and, in some cases, seen them cheated out of those wages. Allowing this condition to persist brings wages down for all construction workers, even those of us who well established in the local trade circles. Casa Latina’s work helps to remedy this situation – a service that all of Seattle’s workers benefit from.
    I thank all who support them, their employees, and definitely Hilary Stern for this valuable contribution to our community.

  15. Ralphmouth – What are you basing your criticism of Reverend Jefferies on? Your use of quotations when referring to his title and his church is disrespectful and unnecessary. Your hostility towards him and suggestions that he is in this for financial gain and not social justice are further disrespectful. Would you question his motives if he were a white minister of a white church? Our criminal punishment system is a racist institution that disproportionately arrests, indicts, convicts, sentences and imprisons men of color. I suspect that Reverend Jefferies and his parish are acutely aware of this reality and are hoping to help members of their community successfully reintegrate into society. I believe that people can change. I believe that reform of the human mind and soul are both possible. The men who gain release from prison deserve a second chance in society, and they need our assistance as community members in helping them become valuable members of our communities.

    As for Casa Latina and FishTank’s attack against that organization and its executive director, I suggest we all keep in mind that if we are not ourselves descendents of the indigenous first nations to this area, we are ALL immigrants to this land. White pioneers first arrived here only about 160 years ago. And when they arrived the Duwamish and other local tribes (who have been here since the time the Egyptians were building the pyramids) helped them settle, learn to live off the land, and even helped to cut down all of the local forests to build up this area that is now Seattle. Do we not owe the same courtesy to our newest immigrants to this land? Are we so hostile to new immigrants here because they tend to be Latino/a or Asian? Would we see a public outcry against an organization that helped recently immigrated Irish day laborers in our community?

    Most of us white people here in the U.S. know our own family’s story of immigration and proudly recall it to our friends and pass it down as important cultural information to our children. Let’s not forget that all immigrants come to U.S. America for the same reason: the chance at a better future. This is supposed to be the land of opportunity. But instead our racist institutions and white supremacist culture restrict full access to opportunities for living wage jobs, education and other social services that we all benefit from. Organizations like Casa Latina help navigate this reality for those who, just like our forefathers and foremothers, are here to stake out a better life for themselves and their families. It is time we treat these people with the full humanity and respect they deserve, and stop hiding behind our outrage at the “illegality” of their presence, which itself is a thin veil masking our own racial and ethnic bigotry.

  16. The gentry thinks that it has already won. A few cooperative black and brown folks will be tolerated until the conversion is complete, but the plan is for the central area to look and feel like Ravenna.

    The interesting thing is that the gentry were both illegal and immoral immigrants.

  17. Casa latina and this soon to come felon housing are both detrimental to our neighborhoods. Casa Latina assists criminals; pure and simple. It is a fact.

  18. Nice try Hilary, but we all know that you are not able to tell a true story and that the sole purpose of Casa Latina is to line your pockets and keep your properties paid for. Have you ever heard of Credit Mobilier? Well, this is almost exactly the scam she is pulling. In addition to that, her organization is assisting criminals in getting jobs for un taxed, under the table cash. Wow! Quite a racket!

  19. Yes, but our forefathers did it legally and did not draw food stamps and expect others to learn their language. Oh yeah…They paid taxes, too.