Unemployed Cantabrians will be paid under a Government scheme to work in Christchurch's red zone, tidying up houses and acting as security.
The Government says $770,000 will be used to supplement the wages of the 100 unemployed people who will carry out the work.
This will involve cleaning up and maintaining properties bought by the Government within the residential red zone.
Some people will also be trained and employed as security guards.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the scheme is designed to help reassure the remaining occupants in otherwise deserted streets.
The scheme aims to employ the under-25s and those who have been on benefit for longer than six months.
More than 6000 properties in Christchurch and Waimakariri have had to be abandoned because of quake damage.
The minister says some streets are all but deserted and can be lonely and unsettling for the few remaining residents.
He says there has been vandalism, theft and arson, and the aim is to provide a comforting presence on the streets.
The Labour Party says it has been asking for more help on the ground to make properties and their residents more secure, and it welcomes the introduction of the work scheme.
The Government says the programme will give the workers a wage for six months and they will also receive first aid and site-safety training, as well as help with numeracy and literacy.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says people under 25 who have been on a benefit for more than six months will be approached first.
Ms Bennett says current rules allow a reduction in the benefit of anyone who turns down the job offer.
"In some respects it is a job offer so we would expect people who can to be taking it up, and if they don't have a good reason then we would certainly be looking at sanctions and what our other steps are."
She says there will be a robust vetting system for those given work as security guards.
In response to the Government's announcment, the Labour Party says it has been asking for more help on the ground to make properties and their residents more secure, and it welcomes the introduction of the work scheme.