A program that has federal prison inmates build homes for low income individuals is in the works for Missouri. The Northeast Community Action Corporation – or NECAC – has signed the first-of-it’s kind agreement.
NECAC spokesman Brent Engel says the program is modeled after a state-run operation that was met with success in South Dakota.
“People with low to moderate incomes would buy the houses through NECAC, which would also provide intensive home ownership classes and pre-purchase training. The buyers would have to obtain loans and pay their own mortgages,” he said.
The 1,100 square foot homes would be constructed behind prison walls, then trucked their destinations. Engel says there’s no firm starting date for the program right now.
“We’ve just gotten approval from the federal government. So, we’re in the planning and processes stages now. We’re not ready to accept applications, but we’ll be sure to let everybody know, because this is going to be a great program,” he said.
Engel adds that the program has the potential to make Missouri the center of the nation’s housing industry.
“Yes, it would take years to do that, but think about it. We’re starting off small, and if we can build this program in Northeast Missouri, and expand it throughout the region, who knows what can happen beyond that?”
NECAC is in discussions on which federal prison will provide the construction. The program was unveiled on Wednesday at a housing summit in Keokuk, Ia. Announcements on additional partners are planned in the coming weeks.