Kent Attainable Housing completes its first home, begin process for new family

Rebuilding Together Kent County volunteers Tom Eager and Zack Schmitt assist Ed Minch, project director for Kent Attainable Housing, with construction of a roof over the front porch at the Garnet House on College Avenue in November. The family has since moved into their home and KAH is now beginning the process of constructing a home for its second family.

CHESTERTOWN — With its first family settled in their new home, Kent Attainable Housing is beginning the process of building its second home for the Dupree-Jones family.

The first family completed their move Feb. 1 into a three-bedroom modular home located in Chestertown.

“It is you, your neighbors, your friends and local organizations whom we want to thank for helping to make this happen,” a news release from the KAH states. “You joined together in typical Kent County fashion to help deliver an affordable house to a working family earning not much more than minimum wage.”

Tamyra Dupree-Jones, her husband Eugene Jones and their family have been selected as the second family that Kent Attainable Housing will help achieve homeownership.

“We’re appreciative that we were the next family chosen to go through this process,” Dupree-Jones said in a Zoom interview Thursday, Feb. 25. “Don’t give up on your dreams. You can achieve it. We’re looking forward to being able to move into the house and being able to say that it’s our home.”

Since opening its selection process in 2019, KAH has garnered more than 30 applicants looking to purchase an affordable house in the area. According to KAH’s website, the nonprofit seeks to break the “generational cycle of poverty by building or renovating affordable houses and partnering with low income, working families to prepare for and buy a home.”

To apply for the program, email kentattainablehousing@gmail.com or call 443-282-0622 to schedule a Zoom meeting.

Each applicant must complete a first time homebuyers class with a Department of Housing and Urban Development certified instructor. Applicants must also take eight hours of financial classes and consultations that focus on determining what each family can afford, understanding and improving their credit score, and how to create a family budget.

Dupree-Jones, who had previously worked with other organizations in an effort to purchase a house, said her family completed KAH’s workshops and found them to be comprehensive and informative.

Dupree-Jones said they started the process of applying for a home through KAH in October. They currently reside in Worton and are looking forward to moving into a home in the area.

“We’re eager and excited,” Dupree-Jones said. “It’s a dream deferred. We started our process probably in 2017. We were looking into a couple other programs, but due to some unforeseen challenges, we had to put that on the back burner. For the last, really four years, we’ve been trying to put ourselves in the position to go from renters to homeowners.”

She said owning a home is more cost-effective for her family and offers them pride of ownership.

“This is a dream as far as having an investment and having something we can call our own,” Dupree-Jones said.

KAH’s Head of Construction and Vice President Ed Minch said the family could be in their new home in as little as six or seven months. However, he said with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the nature of construction projects, that timeline could change.

The first step will be to design the house — another modular build — to meet the family’s needs followed by taking it to the architects who will complete the engineering and pricing.

Building off the learning curve that came with completing the first KAH house, Minch said he’s hoping for tighter scheduling this time around so as to have the house ready to go sooner.

“We’re trying to have people moved in and stop them from paying rent,” Minch said. “For them it’s important.”

In the release, KAH extended its gratitude to the more than 30 individuals who volunteered 800 hours of time to paint walls and doors, build porches, hang drywall, excavate walkways, install appliances and do countless other tasks.

More than 90 individuals and organizations contributed $100,000 to help subsidize the cost of construction program for this and future houses and to make mortgages more affordable to their owners, the release states. Organizations that made contributions include Emanuel Episcopal Church, Bramble Foundation, Ed Hatcher and Angie Cannon Foundation, People’s Bank, Macintosh Family Fund, Doug Ashley Real Estate, Rotary Club and the United Way of Kent County.

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