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.