Mongrel Mob members' lives taking a new direction by working with social housing provider

Two Mongrel Mob gang members are now working with a social housing provider to change the lives of prisoners once they are released.

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They say those released don’t have the necessary services they need for reintegration back into society. Source: 1 NEWS

They say those released don't have the necessary services they need to be reintegrated back into society.

Former armed offenders squad police officer Damian White has seen Karl Goldsbury at his worst.

Behind bars for a decade, Goldsbury is familiar with being on the wrong side of the law.

Now, two years out of prison, he's turning things around with the support of people like White.

"I just wanted to be a better father, a husband, I knew my roles then because I learned what a good father looked like,” he says.

The patched Mongrel Mob members are working for Te Tuinga Whānau services - an organisation that's helped hundreds of vulnerable families and now plans to support gang members nearing the end of their sentence.

"It'll work because just like we want Māori to look after Māori by Māori in the housing, homeless sector,” says Tommy Wilson of Te Tuinga Whānau services.

The project, Freedom For Whānau, will target influential members of any gang, only if they're willing to change and they won't rip them away from the patch.

"You can't take someone away from what they've always known all their life, it'll be like someone taking you off your parents because at the end of the day one of our bros is not going to listen to somebody else,” Goldsbury says.

Freedom For Whānau would look to start with five homes, one prisoner and their family in each house. While there they’d be provided with wrap around support services and after 12 weeks would transition into their own home.

They've already been into prisons to talk about the kaupapa and in the Bay of Plenty the collaboration between gang members and police is seeing huge results.

"All it takes now is a phone call to have some tension lessened and it is a true partnership, aspirationally these guys want the same thing as what we want for our families - they want better outcomes in education, housing and employment," White says.