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What it takes to rebuild in Seattle’s Central District

Dr. Robert L Jeffrey is the pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Seattle’s Central District.  The church has over 70 years of history. 

In 1994, the church was destroyed by a fire.  As the congregation was rebuilding the structure, a second fire by arson set them back.  The permitting process for the structure took over two years, and the church was faced with few options to pay for recovering from the two devastating events. 

What’s more, the neighborhood faced effects of the opioid/crack epidemic, overpolicing of its streets and schools and a real estate market and tax structure that displaced many residents, among many other issues.   Amidst these challenges, Dr. Jeffrey led an effort to build housing and advocated for displaced community members to own homes in the neighborhood.  The congregation was forced to resort to expensive and difficult methods to rebuild the church and build housing.  He sat down with KBCS’s Yuko Kodama to describe the process.