Changes at the Corrections Department have affected a charity which helps low-income Northlanders into their first homes.

Habitat for Humanity is holding an information meeting on its Assisted Home Ownership scheme in Whangarei this month.

Formerly, the scheme saw families contribute 500 hours building their home alongside prisoner work parties from Corrections. However, a rule revision following a high-profile prisoner escape in 2014 meant the houses now had to be built inside the prison.

In February, Habitat for Humanity will choose a partner family for its next three-bedroom home, which will be situated at Corks Rd, Tikipunga. The home is being built at Ngawha Prison and will be transported to Whangarei where the chosen family will help finish their home. Upon completion the family will move in and begin making affordable, regular repayments to Habitat.


Habitat's Northland executive officer Conrad LaPointe said that meant the family were now involved mainly in doing the interior and landscaping of their property, rather than the build. They made up their 500 hours through other charitable work for Habitat and other organisations.

"[Building inside prison] adds to the cost, but we still see this as a great value partnership," Mr LaPointe said.

"The prisoners are still learning skills ... Ultimately we can still do it cheaper than using builders or a local construction company."

Habitat for Humanity's operations manager Diane Coleman urged interested families to attend the meeting, on January 27, 5.30pm at Whangarei Central Baptist Church, 202 Bank St.

Others could contribute to Habitat by donating to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 50 Kioreroa Rd, Whangarei.