Prison builds home to be delivered to Muscatine

MUSCATINE, Iowa–The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine recognizes the limited supply of workforce housing in our community and the impact this has on our families and economic vitality. Our Board of Directors has identified an opportunity to purchase and deliver a Homes for Iowa home to the city of Muscatine through the Iowa Prison Industries Project in Newton.

The Homes for Iowa philosophy is “to address Iowa’s housing shortage, train offenders in skilled trades, and reduce recidivism.”  Prisoners at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Newton are learning construction trade training for a vocation upon release. The training is overseen by master level tradespeople in their individual crafts.

Construction of the home is performed to meet the highest standards in the state to ensure building code compliance in all jurisdictions.

Recidivism of offenders that participate in prison-built home building is 30% less than any other trade training and better prepares participants for re-entry with the opportunity of living-wage skills.

The home will be a high-quality stick-built 1,200 square foot, three-bedroom, two bath ranch style home. The home is built as a single unit and is shipped via transit to the identified lot. Community Foundation personnel have visited the build site in Newton and toured several units in development.

As developer of this project, the Community Foundation has worked with the local Council of Government to apply for a home, and will work with Hackett Construction to perform necessary permitting, develop the lot, ensure all necessary electrical and plumbing connections are completed, and appliances and floor coverings are added to finish the project upon delivery.

The Community Foundation recently partnered with the City of Muscatine to receive a parcel of land at 704 Spring Street to serve as the home’s lot. The house on the site, which is beyond repair, will be demolished and the yard brush will be cleared.  The new home is slated to be delivered in September and sold to a family soon after site completion.

We believe this project will serve to add a unit of quality, affordable housing for families in our community, support the Prison Industries training model, and will assist in increasing the conversation around the need for more housing in our community.

Charla Schafer, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine noted: “the Community Foundation is grateful that the City of Muscatine has partnered with us. Our goal remains to create an affordable, high-quality opportunity for first-time home ownership.”

Qualifications of interested buyers will be released soon.

To donate or learn more, please call the Community Foundation at 563-264-3863 or visit the website at www.muscatinecommunityfoundation.org.

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