In addressing a critical housing shortage in McCook, Nebraska, the city council approved a plan for non-profit Prairie Gold Homes to train Department of Correction inmates in constructing modular homes as infill throughout the town. The McCook Work Ethic Camp (WEC) attracted the attention of Lincoln, NE-based Prairie Gold which will train the inmates in home construction classes in a building supplied by the city at no cost.
The program is funded through grants and gifts, and ultimately from the sale of homes, mostly in the $150,000 range, as mccookgazette tells MHProNews. Former McCook Mayor Dennis Berry, now a part-time employee of Prairie Gold, says the program will not take away employment from the local labor force. Noting there has been little private development in home building, he says there is plenty of opportunity for a local developer who shows interest. Additionally, the program will create a labor pool of trained construction workers.
Inmates will be supervised by trained individuals as with past programs. When questioned about safety, Berry replied, “Is this a fly by night type company? No. It has a long history of working with the Nebraska Department of Corrections. No inmate that has taken the training has returned to prison. Only one inmate selected for the program has been removed, and none tried to escape,” says Berry.
Noting it will give education and a second chance to individuals, Berry adds it will also increase the tax base once the modular homes are sold, and reduce the annual $35,000 burden to house each inmate.
“It is better to make inmates productive, positive taxpaying citizens, than have them back committing crimes and back in prison at the taxpayers expense,” he says. ##
(Photo credit: thecolumbian/Steven Lane–Habitat for Humanity modular home built by high school students in Clark County, Washington.)
Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.