A few months ago there was nothing but bad feelings about the Black Dollar Days Taskforce’s plans to launch a re-entry program for recently released felons in the 100 block of 22nd. An earlier attempt by the city to negotiate an agreement between neighbors and the project’s backers went nowhere, with neighbors and members of the 22nd Avenue Blockwatch rejecting the city’s proposed Good Neighbor Agreement as one-sided.
But two months ago State Senator Adam Kline got involved as mediator between the two sides, got them talking, and today got their signatures on an agreement that will let the project go forward. Lottie Cross, COO of Black Dollar Days Task Force, said that “It wouldn’t have happened without [Kline]. He’s very good.”
22nd Avenue Block Watch leader Kris Fulsaas issued a statement today that called the residence “a worthy project” and said the agreement “provides a framework under which the housing project wil operate with optimal safety for its residents and its immediate neighbors, as well as with minimal disruption to neighborhood peace and quiet.” Fulsaas also credited Kline’s involvement as the key step that allowed the two parties to reach an agreement.
The new agreement covers five areas:
- Supervision and Treatment of Residents – Specifies 24/7 staffing of the re-entry house, minimum levels of treatment and programs offered, how to deal with residents who break the rules, where they can smoke, and sets a 10:45pm curfew,
- Screening Criteria – Rules out housing for sex offenders, arsonists, and those convicted of multiple murders or domestic violence
- Rules of Conduct – Binds the program to a written code of conduct, and establishes the backyard as the house’s area for “recreation and relaxation” vs. the front yard
- Discipline – Establishes a rule that allows three warnings for rule violations before a resident is subject to removal from the program.
- Exchange of Information – Gives the Blockwatch access to the names of each resident, allowing them to lookup their criminal records and DOCS files separately
- Governance – A 10-person steering committee composed of at least 30% blockwatch members will control the program
- Homeless Encampments – Disallows any homeless camps on New Hope Baptist Church property while the re-entry house is active
- Parking – Off-street parking will be provided for all residents and staff on church property
Lottie Cross tells CDNews that they’ve already got a long list of potential residents who are interested in the program. Three staff members are already active in the house, doing minor repairs and preparing it for its first residents who could start to arrive within the next several weeks.
Additionally, two blockwatch members have agreed to be part of the program steering committee, which will meet for the first time next month.
Lose a video store…
And get felon housing in return.
Not quite what I’d have hoped for.
Any specifics on a cross street/specific location?
@TwinPeaksBob – Story said 100 block, and next to New Hope Baptist, so I am guessing in between Yesler and (oh what’s that street, 1 block north) Fir (I think? Maybe it’s called E. Fir?).
I have passed by this location many times, saw the borded up buildings, saw what I had assumed was evidence of “squatters”.
LOL. I am scolding myself for jumping to this conclusion. Turns out these are staff members fixing the place up (from story).
I wondered how “squatters” could get the electricity in one of the buildings up and running! :)
And by everyone who met and hashed this out.
rules out “those convicted of multiple murders”
So this means that murderers are ok as long as they only murdered one person?
“It wouldn’t have happened without [Kline]. He’s very good.”
That’s nice. Perhaps Sen. Kline could try exercising his newly-found ability to be useful back at the state legislature. It’s truly amazing that the ability to utter soothing bromides that capitalize on our neighborhood’s political homogeneity and remarkable fetish for victimhood is sufficient to earn 14 terms in Olympia. The juggernaut of incompetence that is the Kline/Pettigrew/Tomiko-Santos nexus is truly a sight to behold.
But Kline always stands up for the little guy!
Didn’t you read his legislative report?
It was full of pandering to the unfortunate criminal aliens that are his constituency.
After all, I feel so sorry for those poor people who can’t afford car insurance and get a ticket, because they drive anyway!
Kline is the most useless politician in this entire state.
This will really encourage businesses to locate here. We are a containment zone and as long as we allow this and other like housing to be placed here we will be a segregated crime ridden hole.
They need to go and we need to sue if they do not. We need retail, economic investment in our community not ex-criminals.
Complete agreement!!! I looked him up on state records and found that he only votes four times a year.
Correction: Votes once every four years! I’m a douche.
agree agree agree. why in the hell do we need a felon housing next to my house? Nobody wants ex-felons to lives next to 8 ex-felons except Sen. Kline. Please tell me how is it this project beneficial and add business value to the nearby neighbors?
@businessminded – How does this “add value”? Well, one of the booming industries right now is credit collection. I would totally try to hire some of these individuals as my collectors!
I actually have great empathy for your position. Is it more likely that this housing will have a detrimental impact on your ability to rent or sell your property? Yes, probably…in the abstract. But remember what it was, actually is, prior to this use. Two run down housing structures, boarded up and falling apart, windows busted, severely tagged. Now, isn’t it more likely that turning this urban blight into a functioning housing unit (regardless of it’s occupants) ADDS VALUE to your property value, as opposed to maintaining the status quo?!?
Yes, I know, you would hope for just the standard use, and you would get a little more value out of it, or a commercial use (even more value), but that’s not the way it is. We are not entitled to the MOST MONEY that we COULD get out of our investments. Which is, of course, easy for me to say since I am not the one with this complex next door…
I should add,that I am not in any way affiliated with this project (in case anyone is eager to dismiss this post by saying so).
What we found out over the past six months is that there are no city, county, or state laws forbidding this type of project from being sited in any neighborhood. Thus, not being able to stop it, we decided to meet with the Black Dollar Days Task Force representatives in charge of the project to find out their plans and to request changes to those plans that will hopefully keep our neighbors safe when the project starts up. We had a three-and-a-half-page list of concerns that mostly were addressed. The agreement is not perfect, but it’s way better than nothing.
Go ahead and work with BDDTF to come up with your own agreement for the project—I encourage any neighbors, community council, or other concerned parties to do what we did. It took months, but I think it was worth it.
Go ahead and sue. I don’t know what grounds you’ll be able to sue on, though, since there’s no laws preventing this project—or any other like it—from going forward. We found that every city official and agency we spoke with supported the project and weren’t interested in hearing our concerns. Sen. Kline was the only public official who expressed interest in hearing our concerns. I’ve always found him to be reasonable, hard-working, and dedicated to the concerns of the average person. I’m discouraged at the level of discourse in this thread—strikes me as all talk and no action. What have you done lately to improve your neighborhood? Hopefully, more than blog…
…I resisted the urge to litter.
On multiple occasions…
Come on… Would you rather buy a home next door to an abandoned building or a halfway house for recently released felons?
Most of the earlier comments misconstrue the situation here.
1. The house in question has not been boarded up. It has been a rental for many years and is a rental still. Commentators may have confused Second Chance house with New Hope’s own houses, which remain eyesores. Second Chance is not a project of New Hope, but Rev Robert Jeffrey is a principal in both New Hope and Black Dollars Days (which runs Second Chance).
2. There is very little business in the immediate neighborhood of Second Chance. We are zoned for medium density residential use. There are a lot of service agencies nearby, including day care centers, Odessa Brown and CAYA. Most of these were at least mildly supportive of Second Chance and none were actively opposed.
3. Some neighbors were and are unconditionally opposed to housing felons in their backyard. Others were initially supportive of the concept. All had concerns about whether Black Dollars Days has the resources, the expertise and a plan in place for Second Chance. The negotiating process answered some of those questions, at least in theory.
4. Many ex-felons already live in this neighborhood and the Central Area in general. Some ex-felons are in transitional housing and others are unsupervised. While we may not drop our tough-on-crime rhetoric any time soon, a lot of felons will be released in the near future due to court orders, completion of terms and to meet the budget. Expect more of this.
5. The 22nd Avenue block watch was fortunate to get advance word about Second Chance. Hopefully you are lucky, too, but you are very likely to miss your chance to weigh in on a similar situation in your neighborhood. There is no requirement to advise neighbors of this type of project. The coalition of pastors (led by Rev Jimmie James of Interaction Transition House) which is promoting this type of project is committed to working with neighbors, but the level of cooperation will likely vary with the personalities and the resources involved in each project.
6. The Dept of Corrections budgets nearly $3000/month/prisoner to house prisoners. In an effort to lower their costs and reduce the backlog of prisoners who are being held after their terms have been completed, DoC is offering $500/mo/prisoner (for 3 months) to organizations that are willing to house recently released felons. That’s the original impetus behind Second Chance.
7. Sen Kline has been advocating for prison and sentencing reforms for many years. This is one of his greatest interests and it is a matter of state policy that has had a disproportionate effect on the Central Area for decades. He is a very appropriate person to mediate this issue. We have heard from others involved in reentry housing that this particular situation is being closely watched by the Dept of Corrections and other interested parties. In my experience Sen Kline is very approachable. Call him up if you have an issue: (360) 786-7688.
8. The City of Seattle (SPD, City Attorney, City Council members, etc.) made it abundantly clear in many meetings that they supported Second Chance without conditions and that they had little or no interest in the concerns of the neighborhood. The reasons for this are many, but include the fact that no codes address reentry housing, lack of resources, poor coordination between departments and bureaucratic imperatives. Since the agreement was signed, a representative of the city has informed the neighborhood that he is unhappy that we did not accept the city’s [one-sided and unenforceable] Good Neighbor Agreement. (This city-proposed GNA is what drove us to accept Sen Kline’s offer to mediate.)
9. In response to block watch concerns, the Squire Park Community Council adopted a “hands-off” policy regarding situations like this. This is understandable but was not immediately helpful. Hidmo Community Empowerment Project took an active (and welcome) interest in the situation but I understand that they were surprised by some of the difficulties involved. Casa Latina, the subject of an earlier Good Neighbor Agreement, also took an interest and lent moral support. Cannon House gave us meeting space and other local institutions such as Seattle Vocation Institute also provided similar resources. Jim Tharp, owner of several reentry houses in the Central Area also gave us a great deal of his time and expertise. In short, many local organizations contributed to the dialog between the block watch and Black Dollar Days/Second Chance.
10. In many ways our discussions with Second Chance are analogous to neighborhood concerns with large institutions such as Swedish Providence and Seattle University. The institution has more resources, its own internal logic and momentum. Even getting their attention on neighborhood concerns is an uphill battle.
11. The process of negotiating this agreement was often divisive and unpleasant. It’s a credit to the block watch (and a surprise to the city and Second Chance) that we toughed it out. A lot of the earlier criticism of the block watch was unfair and off target, but we kept our heads, did our research and insisted on being heard. We now have the tools to keep an eye on Second Chance and influence its development. This will not be painless and may not even be successful, but we are sincere in our effort to do the best we can for our neighborhood. I believe Second Chance respects our concerns in a way they did not a few months ago.
12. For better or worse, our agreement is the only known written neighborhood agreement on reentry housing in Seattle. Because of the attention by Sen Kline and city bureaucrats, it may be a model for future agreements. If this situation comes to your neighborhood, you should hope we did a good job on it.
Thank you for outlining and explaining the finer details. I support this proposal. Felons, just like non felons, need a place to live. As I have stated before, you may be working next to a felon and just dont know it. Just like non felons, there are good and bad apples in every basket. This will help felons get back on track and hopefully, with one less barrier to overcome, will help them keep on the better track, and help keep the rate of recividism down. Good Luck Second Chances.