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Former inmates helping Habitat for Humanity build homes

Published On: Apr 25 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 26 2013 05:31:46 PM CDT

Even after a prisoner has served his time, making the transition back to the community can be hard.

READING, Pa. -

Even after a prisoner has served his time, making the transition back to the community can be hard, but one group is giving former inmates a second chance.

Tim Hayter showed another volunteer how to paint.

"Right now, we're just doing the check list," said Hayter, who gave a tour of the Habitat for Humanity home he helped rebuild. "Right now, we're just doing the check list."

The home needed a lot of work he said.

"Yeah, it was in pretty bad shape compared to what it is now. It's a real nice job," said Hayter. "Now, it looks nice."

Hayter started working on the home on Monroe Street in Reading when he was living at the Wernersville Community Corrections Center.

"This is a new banister. The old one was falling apart. It was coming out of the wall," said Hayter, who explained what landed him in prison. "It was nothing serious. It was for a bad check. I think the total was $80,000. It was for a new vehicle."

He said he loves volunteering.

"There was a big hole in the wall, so we had to patch it ," said Hayter. 

And if you touched the wall, you would never know there was a hole.

"It's really hard for someone who's been in my situation to actually get a job in the first place," said Hayter. "For someone to even trust you, so this is a start to show that." 

And there are others benefiting from working with Russ Poper, Habitat's director of construction.

"There are so many trades that they can learn here that I hope to be able to attract corporations outside of just Habitat and allow these guys transition out and get a job," said Poper.

Helping offenders transition isn't Habitat's main objective, but Tim Daley, the executive director, explained there's a reason.

"If Habitat wants to be a true partner in this community and make an impact in this community, we have to embrace the entire community," said Daley.

Hayter's proud of his work, and now that he's out, he plans to continue.

"From what I can see, we all make mistakes, but if you learn from them, you can do something good out of it," said Hayter. "It's really nice to do that, and I actually enjoy helping other people."