At the November 1 Town Council meeting, John Queen presented a group of tenants from Brookmeadow Apartments seeking help for what he described as “discrimination and racism in Federal housing here in Chestertown.” Queen is also a resident of Brookmeadow and described his first-hand experience dealing with a stalled renovation project and mandatory relocation of up to half its residents.
Brookmeadow Apartments are in Ward 3.
Queen, president of the Bayside HOYAS youth organization and community organizer, described Brookmeadow apartments on Flat Land Road and its owner TM Associates as also providing no remedies for health concerns due to mold, unaddressed maintenance issues, retaliatory practices for any resident’s grievances, and inadequate paperwork dealing with tenants’ rental status during an apartment renovation, relocation, and an eviction process.
Apartment residents were told in June 2020 that half the tenants would have to move due to the renovation. Residents were moved to another part of the apartment complex as the selected apartments for renovation remained empty for a year. The duration of their relocation remained unclear. In Queen’s case, he was told his relocation would only last three months, only to be notified that it would be a year.
Since that meeting, Queen held a community dialogue hosted by Washington College’s Student Government Association (SGA) on November 18 with the hope of calling attention to widespread problems with federal housing from “abysmal living conditions like respiratory problems from mold to non-existent documentation about costs related to a move of indeterminate length.
Brookmeadow residents also questioned the recertification process for which tenants had to provide their Social Security cards, bank account information, and tax forms. In one case, a resident was given less than 30-days to move because her income had increased over the maximum allowed for federal housing and only received a phone call to notify her. Others felt that the recertification process was inconsistent in the number of times each resident was required to recertify.
Queen continues to press the matter and wants the town, county, and public to become involved. To that end, and spearheaded by Washington College’s SGA, a petition to protest discriminatory federal housing began circulating on December 3.
The Spy recently interviewed John Queen to determine the current status of his fair housing advocacy and if inroads have been made with TM Associates. He says that despite the company’s response to a written questionnaire obtained by The Spy, he holds proof contradicting some of their claims.
This video is approximately seven minutes in length.
Tenants of Brookmeadow spoke discrimination spoke at WC Nov 18 facilitated by SGA
Petition against Discriminatory Housing Practices in Chestertown, MD.
Letters to Editor
Stephen Schaare says
Well, I am somewhat confused. Mr. Queen states right from the outset that this is a federal housing issue. Then I hear about Kent county, town councils, and Washington College.
Contact, directly, the Federal Housing Authority. The current administration is more than receptive to matters of this sort.
Waste no more time with these local entities(small potatoes). Send this video to pretty much anyone in the Biden administration and Mr. Queen, and the other tenants will be treated like Royalty. Done. Next?
Brandt Troup says
I too am a bit confused. If I were to hazard a guess, the emotional component of John’s argument clouds some of the logical components.
While Stephen is right that this is largely a FHA issue, I think John is trying to leverage his relationship with the Town, who may be an advocate with a somewhat official platform. But if they do so, then some of the narrative goes out the window. It’s an interesting dance.
Regarding your last sentence, I suppose it drips with sarcasm. And because of that (John has been quite clear that the events of last November are no panacea to appease his grievances), perhaps he feels a kinship with his community is the key to improve his neighbors’ living situation.
Deirdre LaMotte says
Wow. What an absolutely vapid and cynical response that obviously hit a nerve.
Sad times in our nation when people have needs
and the local response from one person
is: who cares,
contact the “bleeding libs” in WDC.
I am so over this selfish mentality. I have no respect for anyone who turns their back on
gun violence, anti democratic insurgencies,
trickle down nonsense….but takes the time to
be condescending to people who are struggling.
What the Hell is community and our nation about? Let the richest, strongest survive?