The last week of September saw the first prisoner-built home arrive at Muscatine County.
Homes for Iowa is a program in which Iowa State Penitentiary prisoners in Newton learn to build homes and then ship them to low-income communities across the state. This program trains prisoners in construction skills and prepares them to apprentice once they are released. Charla Schafer (Executive Director of Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine) says that the program is a win-win. "The recidivism rates for prisoners who learn home construction are 30% lower than other trade training." It also provides affordable housing options for the region. We have 1,100 people driving into our community to work, because there isn't enough housing.
Schafer says that we are currently short one thousand units of affordable housing.
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Established by Big Society Capital and the Northern Rock Foundation, the North East Social Investment Company is soon to be launched for lending by mid-2014.