A Far North trust that has been housing the homeless is about to start a trades-training school for young Māori.
He Korowai Trust has put nine families into renovated state houses on land it owns in Kaitaia, in a rent-to-buy scheme.
And it has just won a $2 million grant from Foundation North for its next project, the Sweet-As Academy.
The name is an acronym for Students Without Employment and Education, Training, Achieving and Succeeding.
Trust manager Ricky Houghton said the academy will take on 20 students a year to train as carpenters and painters for the next five years.
"It's all started to fall into place," he said.
"It's been a long journey for the organisation, but the project is going to provide much-needed skills, much-needed homes, and employment."
Mr Houghton said those were the three key ingredients needed to drive back social deprivation in the Far North.
Northtec would provide accreditation for the trades students and they would initially be working on a new batch of state houses for needy families on the Whare Ora estate, he said.
Longer term, Mr Houghton said He Korowai Trust planned to set up a house building company to employ them.
It recently launched the prototype of a small solar-powered affordable home that could be easily transported and used to house whānau on ancestral land.
The Trust has also refurbished the old Kaitaia Hotel and turned it into emergency housing, providing counselling and budgeting services on the site.
The Sweet-As academy will open next February.