For some Kent Countians, owning a house is an unattainable dream. Locked into generational poverty, renting a home or a room is their only viable shelter, especially with rising costs and stagnant wages.
As the new Executive Director of Kent Attainable Housing, Darius Johnson wants to help change that.
After graduating from Washington College, Johnson said that he went on a six-year soul searching journey that took him to Baltimore and work in several roles from corporate analytics to corporate fundraising for Johns Hopkins Neurology Department. He also did additional work with Baltimore County students teaching construction education and innovation.
But the Eastern Shore began to beckon him back.
“I’ve always had one foot in and one foot out and my fiancée, who is from the Eastern Shore also, and I decided to move back that’s when I started working for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.”
By chance, through a mutual interest in an oral history project promoted by Washington College’s Starr Center, Johnson met KAH President Lani Seikaly and became interested in their mission.
“Basically, Kent Attainable Housing’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through homeownership and working with families to prepare them to purchase a home through homeownership counseling and financial counseling,” he says.
Last October, KAH’s first house, “Garnet House,” arrived in Chestertown. Several volunteer organizations put together the two-story, three-bedroom modular home situated on the original Garnet High school site.
“To put it more simply, having a home is the foundation of life,” Johnson says. “if you don’t have shelter, everything else in your life becomes chaotic. You don’t have a space to learn and educate yourself; you don’t have a space to take care of your physical, spiritual, and mental health. If you don’t have a stable home, you might not have a stable job.”
As Kent County begins to emerge from the pandemic shutdowns, they are currently looking for the next site to build a house to continue their mission to make homeownership a real possibility rather than an unobtainable dream.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Kent Attainable Housing and to support their mission, go here.