Improving Data on Regional Residential Environment


Report from partnership between College and Rebuilding Together Kent County will aid in outreach for funds and services aimed at improving local housing stock.

C.Townsend, a Washington College student, reviews a research sheet as part of the Kent County Housing Survey project in partnership with Rebuilding Together Kent County.

Rebuilding Together Kent County (RTKC) and Washington College are inviting all residents of Kent County to participate in a housing survey, 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 county-wide housing survey, RTKC will ask homeowners throughout Kent County 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” said RTKC Executive Director, Genevieve Croker. “RTKC’s ultimate goal is to someday end substandard housing in our community, and this 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. 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, and through upcoming door-to-door interviews. To participate in the survey online, residents can visit 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. 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 resulting report will be publicly available for individuals, agencies, and organizations. 

"The Holstein Program in Ethics is incredibly proud to have supported this inspiring collaboration,” said Patrick Nugent, Washington College’s Thomas V. Miller Director of Civic Engagement. “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."  

C. Townsend, ‘24, is currently working with RTKC on the housing survey and resulting report.  

“It's been wild to see this survey come to fruition over the past year,” said Townsend. “Through each stage of the project, as both an intern and a worker here at RTKC, I've felt I'm a part of something that truly could create change in this community.” 

“The Department of Sociology aims to educate our students to meaningfully contribute to their communities,” said associate professor of sociology and director of pre-health programs and the public health minor Elizabeth Yost. “We are proud to see how C. Townsend has been able to take the theoretical and analytical skills from the classroom and apply it to this project with Rebuilding Together Kent County. This survey data will help shape policy and outreach to better understand the housing needs of residents in Kent County." 

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

— Dominique Ellis Falcon