Federal Prisoners Build Homes for Needy Families

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By Christopher Zoukis 

We here at Prison Education News don't often have the opportunity to report good news concerning educational and vocational training programs in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, so today we're pleased to be able to do so.

In an innovative partnership between the Federal Bureau of Prisons, North East Community Action Corp., and the Carpenters Union District Council of Greater St. Louis, federal prison inmates at FCI Greenville -- a medium security federal prison in Greenville, Illinois -- will be afforded the opportunity to build houses for needy families, all within the confines of the FCI Greenville prison.

The program, called the Aspire Partnership Homes program, the initial funding of which was provided by the Carpenters Union, will train federal prison inmates to build houses at FCI Greenville for needy families.  The completed houses will then be transported from the prison to the housing property, where they will be placed on a completed foundation and basement.  Instruction teams and carpenters union apprentices will both train and supervise the inmate workers as they complete the homes.  Home sales will provide continuing funding for the program.

In order to qualify for the two bedroom, one bath, 1,008-square foot homes applicants must qualify for a regular home loan and have a household income of less than $51,000 for families of three or more or $44,000 for families of two or less.  Applicants are also required to cover the costs of flooring, foundations, the utility connection, and any home furnishings.  The North East Community Action Corp. will provide potential applicants with information concerning how to secure and pay for a loan, and will offer recipients homeownership classes.

All in all, this is a significant win-win opportunity: needy families will get a roof over their heads and prisoners will not only learn a trade, but be able to give back to their community even while behind bars.

To learn more about the Aspire Partnership Homes program, visit http://www.whig.com/story/24672387/necac-seeking-applicants-for-housing-program.