Prison programme milestone celebrated31 January 2017
A successful partnership between Housing New Zealand and the Department of Corrections celebrated a significant milestone this week.
On Monday, new Social Housing Minister Amy Adams and Corrections Minister Louise Upston visited the construction yard at Rolleston Prison where earthquake damaged state houses are being repaired, restored and rebuilt by prisoners.
In a symbolic presentation, Minister Upston presented the keys to the 50th completed property to Housing New Zealand’s Regional Manager Jackie Pivac.
Both Government agencies are involved in what has been dubbed the “Second Chance’’ programme as it offers a second chance for the houses and for the prisoners who work on them.
Jackie says the event marked a significant milestone for the prison, the community and the two organisations.
The Rolleston Construction Yard project is a partnership between Housing New Zealand and Corrections which provides community and prison offenders with qualifications and skills for employment, rejuvenates social housing stock and enables offenders to contribute to the rebuilding of Canterbury.
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.
Jackie says Housing New Zealand is pleased to be part of such a valuable project.
"What is particularly rewarding is seeing our tenants move into quality properties. Their reactions have been everything from excitement at having well-built homes to gratitude towards those that built them."
Approximately 140 tenants and their families now live in a house restored through the programme.
Jackie says Housing New Zealand sees the partnership as “a win-win’’ for both agencies.
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.