Mid-Shore Community Foundation has awarded Kent Attainable Housing (KAH), a two-year $50,000 grant to convert the part-time Executive Director, Darius Johnson, to a full-time position. Expanding this essential staff position to full time will strengthen the ability of KAH 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.
According to Board President, Lani Seikaly, “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. ”Established in 1992, the Mid-Shore Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that serves individuals, associations and nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Shore Region of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties. Executive Director Darius Johnson concurs, “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.”
Written by Ronnie Edelman, this grant will allow KAH 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. After completing their first home on College Avenue and being in the final months of completing their second home on Lambs Meadow Road in Worton, KAH is now in the process of buying their third home to rehab in Chestertown.
Over 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. Seventy-five percent of our families are single moms. Many have no savings accounts or assets.
According to a 2018 United Way Kent County report, 40% of county households live below what is needed for a survival budget, and 600 children are impacted by poverty. Since the 1980’s, 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.