Corrections sending released prisoners to mouldy, lockless boarding houses

While some recently released prisoners are being forced to sleep on the streets because they can't afford rent, things aren't much better for those who can.

Some are living in boarding houses where the cooking facilities don't work and there were no locks on the doors.

And Corrections is sending some of them there even though it knows they're unsuitable.

Newshub visited one such North Shore home, where the residents gave a tour.

In the kitchen, the oven had a warning in faded black marker: "Do not open, mould spores." Inside, there's a thick carpet of mould.

"It hasn't worked since I've lived here. I have been there a year," one tenant told Newshub.

A room here is about $180 a week, or $230 for a couple, including power and water.

The tenants claim they had to pay for locks themselves.

"There was no locks on the doors, there were no locks on any, even the front door," one said.

The shower is tired and corroding, while the walls have holes in them and one lounge window is boarded up.

A former inmate Newshub spoke to was dropped off here by Corrections - because there was nothing else available.

"It was a mattress on the floor that had been defecated on and urinated on," he said.

There were other former prisoners in the house.

Corrections says it doesn't have a formal arrangement with the owner, and boarding houses are not recommended accommodation - but sometimes, it's that or homelessness.

"I don't want to be around people. I've been around in the past drinking, I'm an alcoholic, I don't want to be around that environment," one resident said.

The property owner told Newshub the damage inside the house had mainly been caused by former inmates referred to him by Corrections, and he was helping people with no other options.

He says he won't fix the oven because it's been used for smoking drugs, but he has patched the walls several times.

Corrections staff have visited some of the owners' properties, but it wouldn't comment on their condition. Instead it just reiterated it's accommodation of last resort. 

Across town, the Auckland City Mission's already maxed out with demand for winter services.

Helen Robinson says good housing is a human right for all, including people with criminal records.

"I don't think it takes rocket science to figure out that good quality, affordable housing is conducive or helps reduce the risk of reoffending," she told Newshub.

But she says more funding and resources are needed to make good housing a reality.