Iowa inmates to build affordable rural housing, gain skills

NEWTON (AP) — A central Iowa prison program aims to alleviate a lack of affordable housing while teaching inmates construction skills they can use when they're released.

The Des Moines Register reports that Newton Correction Facility inmates enrolled in the Iowa Prison Industries program are currently building an office and a classroom.

But they will eventually build entire homes that can be moved to rural communities to address the decline in affordable housing. Inmates can also pursue apprenticeships for jobs in demand in the state.

The acting warden of the low-and-medium security prison describes the program as a "win-win." Those who qualify for affordable housing purchase can buy homes for about $125,000. The inmates gain marketable skills for when they leave prison.

Families earning below $73,100 annually would qualify to purchase a home.