Rise In Drug Use And Vandalism Forces Beloved Spokane Church To Sell Amid Skyrocketing Insurance Costs

Font Size:

Redemption Church in Spokane, Washington, faces an uncertain future as Pastor Jon Bonetti blames open drug use and vandalism on and around its property for increased insurance premiums. Bonetti now says he must sell the beloved building, a local NBC affiliate reported Wednesday.

“The decision has kind of been made for us,” Bonetti says, according to KHQ-TV. Bonetti has served at Redemption Church for nearly a decade. He laments the level that crime has reached in his neighborhood, with daily incidents affecting the church.

In 2023 alone, Redemption Church spent around $15,000 on vandalism-related costs, according to KHQ-TV, a financial burden that has strained their budget.

“It hinders what you’re able to do as far as dreaming of the ministry you would like to be able to do,” Bonetti said.

The church’s insurance company dropped them in April 2022, refusing to cover the property due to the building’s age, previous claims and the high liability of the area, according to Bonetti. Although another insurer stepped in, the new premium reportedly skyrocketed to $3,000 a month, a 300% increase from their previous rate. (RELATED: Catholic Church Vandalized With Pro-Abortion Graffiti)

An official from the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner acknowledged the unusual spike to KHQ-TV but pointed to claims history and general industry-wide increases as contributing factors.

The steep rise in insurance costs has pushed Redemption Church into a financial deficit, leaving them no choice but to sell the property, according to Bonetti. Initially listed at $2 million, the church is now on the market for $1.6 million.

“The hard truth is that there is a financial reality too. It does place a huge financial burden on those that are still in this area,” Bonetti said.

Washington state is experiencing an increase in drug use in recent years. According to crime lab data for police evidence, law enforcement registered a 186% increase in the number of people testing positive for opioid use statewide between 2002-2004 and 2018-2020. The same is seen across the country, as U.S. data shows overdose deaths involving opioids increased from an estimated 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021.