Housing New Zealand (HNZ) and the Department of Corrections are strengthening their existing building partnership even further by agreeing to build up to 100 new homes over the next five years.
The two Government agencies have already delivered restored homes through a partnership where prisoners gain skills and qualifications while restoring damaged and older homes into new warm dry homes for HNZ tenants and their families.
This has taken a step further with both agencies agreeing to have new homes built through this collaboration.
This is a key feature of a newly signed Service Level Agreement that will see this programme delivered at both Spring Hill and Rolleston prisons.
New homes and new skills are the result of a positive partnership between Housing New Zealand and the Department of Corrections in the Waikato.
The Spring Hill refurbishment programme , which has been running for nine years, sees supervised prisoners taking up a trade to help restore and rebuild older houses and transforming them into modern, warm, dry healthy homes for state housing tenants and their families.
Each year, more than 60 prisoners get a chance to learn and develop new skills they can take with them when they are released back into the community.
Carpentry is the main trade selected but others like interior lining, gib stopping, painting and plumbing are also available.
Corrections works with the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) who come to the prison construction yard and assess prisoners on their trade skills which can give them qualifications that will help them find work when they are released.
The programme aims to deliver 10 restored homes each financial year. This year to date, five houses have been placed on their new sites with a further three to be located on new sites in March. A further two completed properties will be moved onto their new sites before the end of the financial year on June 30, 2019.
Housing New Zealand and the Department of Corrections are partners in a scheme where prisoners gain new skills and confidence by building and restoring damaged state houses at the Rolleston Prison construction yard.
The Rolleston Construction Yard project, dubbed the Second Chance programme, is a partnership between Housing New Zealand and Corrections which provides community and prison offenders with qualifications and skills for employment, rejuvenates state housing stock and enables offenders to contribute to the rebuilding of Canterbury.
Once completed at the yard, the houses are transported to sites across the city and re-let to tenants.
The houses have been re-clad, rewired and re-plumbed and had their walls and ceilings insulated with under-floor insulation to be installed on-site. The houses have new bathrooms, toilets and hot water closets, refurbished and modernised kitchens and new floor coverings. They have new interior plaster, have been painted inside and out, and the roofs have been water blasted and repainted.
The Second Chance project came about in 2013 when Housing New Zealand was reviewing the future of houses from Christchurch’s Red Zone, and Canterbury Corrections was looking for a project where prisoners could contribute meaningfully to the rebuild of the city and the community.
The project involved 2 new construction yards being built at Rolleston Prison, south of Christchurch, houses being moved onto the site, repairs and refurbishment being undertaken and the houses then relocated onto new sites in the city and re-tenanted.
Approximately 140 tenants and their families now live in a house restored through the programme.
Corrections estimates hundreds of prisoners have worked on the programme. Through the yard, they have learnt, and continue to learn, employable trade skills, including painting, plastering, carpentry, and timber joinery.
Research shows there is a strong correlation between employment and leading a crime free life.