Kent Attainable Housing awarded grant

Darius Johnson, executive director of Kent Attainable Housing, represents his organization Friday, Sept. 3 during the United Way of Kent County’s annual fundraiser kickoff in Chestertown.

CHESTERTOWN — Mid-Shore Community Foundation has awarded Kent Attainable Housing, a two-year $50,000 grant to convert the part-time executive director position held by Darius Johnson to full time.

According to a news release, expanding this essential staff position to full time will strengthen the ability of Kent Attainable Housing to focus on developing and implementing a sustainable model for affordable housing in Kent County, while building community and political support for systemic change and a succession plan to advance the mission over the next decade.

“The Board of Directors is incredibly appreciative to the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and its President, Buck Duncan, and Chief Program Director, Robbin Hill, for supporting our request for funding which will make a huge difference in meeting our mission to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through home ownership,” said Kent Attainable Housing board President Lani Seikaly.

Established in 1992, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation is a public charity that serves individuals, associations and nonprofit organizations in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties.

“I am extremely grateful for Mid Shore Community Foundation’s support through the Arthur H. Kudner Jr. Fund. Kent Attainable Housing’s mission resonates deeply within me and this grant provides critical funds that empower me to devote my full time and passion towards helping families achieve homeownership,” Johnson said.

Written by Ronnie Edelman, this grant will allow Kent Attainable Housing to increase its impact on building or renovating affordable houses and partnering with working families to prepare for and buy a home through required classes in financial literacy and home ownership, the release states.

After completing its first home on College Avenue and being in the final months of completing second home on Lambs Meadow Road in Worton, Kent Attainable Housing is now in the process of buying a third home to rehab in Chestertown.

More than 30 families have applied to be part of the Kent Attainable Housing program and are at various stages in going through the process of qualifying to buy a house. A typical family has two or three school-age or pre-school children. 75% of our families are single moms. Many have no savings accounts or assets.

According to a 2018 United Way Kent County report, 40% of local households live below what is needed for a survival budget and 600 children are impacted by poverty.

Since the 1980s, when federal budgets for affordable housing were cut, there has been little construction of lower cost homes. The high demand, accompanied by increasing numbers of income-challenged families, has resulted in home insecurity for many in Kent County, the release states.

To learn more about Kent Attainable Housing, go to kentattainablehousing.org or email kentattainable housing@gmail.com.

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