Kent housing survey underway; RTKC partners with Washington College

CHESTERTOWN — Rebuilding Together Kent County and Washington College are inviting all Kent County residents to participate in a housing survey that was launched earlier this month.

The survey, which is being conducted with the assistance of Washington College’s sociology department faculty and students, aims to help provide better, updated data on the housing conditions in the county so that RTKC can more effectively apply for grants and donations aimed at improving the residential environment for Kent’s citizens.

With this countywide housing survey, RTKC will ask homeowners about the physical conditions of their homes, their satisfaction with their homes and other questions designed to understand how their interactions with their homes and the county intersect.

“This survey is dedicated to getting an accurate assessment of Kent County’s housing stock, as currently available data does not reflect our experience working over 20 years here,” RTKC Executive Director Genevieve Croker said in a news release.

Croker said RTKC’s ultimate goal is to someday end substandard housing in our community.

The survey is critical to understanding the challenge ahead.

“To help everyone, we first must determine our neighbors’ current lived experience, and which of their needs are most pressing,” Croker said in the news release. “A newer, more accurate housing survey is paramount and will aid us in demonstrating to local and national partners what is needed for our communities to thrive.”

Sponsored by the Kent County Health Department, the Upper Shore Regional Council and the Chestertown Rotary Club, along with support and active student engagement from Washington College’s Holstein Program in Ethics and Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the survey is being conducted in many ways — including online, in-person at the Chestertown Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and through upcoming door-to-door interviews.

To participate in the survey online, residents can visit www.rebuildingtogetherkcmd.org/survey and fill out their responses.

To gather accurate data, responses from as many residents as possible are needed.

Respondents do not need to be a homeowner to participate; anyone residing in Kent County is encouraged to contribute.

According to the news release, residents’ personal information will be kept confidential and addresses will not be stored by RTKC or shared with others. The findings will be reported in aggregate.

The report will be publicly available for individuals, agencies and organizations.

In the news release, Patrick Nugent, Washington College’s Thomas V. Miller Director of Civic Engagement, said the Holstein Program in Ethics “is incredibly proud to have supported this inspiring collaboration. This is exactly the type of ethical, interdisciplinary, public-facing research that the program’s namesake has long championed — programs that spark our students’ moral courage, showing them that the lessons they learn in every Washington College classroom can be applied with purpose and meaning, right now and right here.”

“The Department of Sociology aims to educate our students to meaningfully contribute to their communities,” Elizabeth Yost, associate professor of sociology and director of pre-health programs and the public health minor, said in the news release.

She noted that the survey data will help shape policy and outreach to better understand the housing needs of residents in Kent County.

Those interested in learning more about the survey and resulting projects can attend one of the upcoming public meetings. Those scheduled so far include:

Tuesday, March 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Betterton American Legion

Tuesday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the Worton Community Center

Thursday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Millington Town Office

Thursday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Galena Town Office

Anyone interested in assisting with conducting the door-to-door portion of the housing survey can apply to be a RTKC volunteer at www.rebuildingtogetherkcmd.org/volunteer.

Rebuilding Together Kent County’s mission is repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives.

The nonprofit leverages gifts of time, money, skill and labor to repair and rehabilitate homes for income-eligible seniors, veterans, those living with disabilities and families with children in Kent County.

All work is done at no cost to homeowners who meet the eligibility criteria.

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