AMS to address housing grievances

New centre will consolidate resources

A proposal to establish a new Housing Grievance Centre passed unanimously at last week’s AMS Assembly.

The Centre will offer peer-based support and referral services for housing-related concerns. Although it won’t be able to provide legal advice, the Centre will give referrals to Queen’s Legal Aid.

AMS Municipal Affairs Commissioner Troy Sherman said he thinks there is a definite need for the service at Queen’s.

“My inbox is currently receiving a lot of these complaints and grievances,” Sherman, ArtSci ’14, said.

The new Centre will absorb the MAC’s housing-related services like the Student Property Assessment and Dwelling Education (SPADE),

a volunteer-run service which provides free home inspections for students, and the holiday and summer house check program. “It’s a centralization of those resources and a confidential place for student to talk about their grievances regarding their housing,” Sherman said.

The Centre will be operated by an advisory board that will include Sherman’s successor, the student leader for the project and a representative from the property standards division of the City of Kingston.

Although the Town-Gown relations office already exists to foster better relationships between the University and the City of Kingston, the new Centre will differ in that it will focus specifically on student housing issues.

Sherman said he feels the Centre will allow students who have housing trouble to seek advice from students who have been through similar situations.

Lauren Cardinal, ArtSci ’15, said she definitely would’ve used the service had it existed this past year.

“It’s not until you’re into the lease and living in [the house] that you … hear from other people about [having] the same problems,” she said.

The complaints brought to the Centre should be made available to all students to warn them about potentially difficult landlords, she said.

“I think that if people are looking into that landlord, they should be able to access that because my landlord seemed really great at first and then she’s turned out not to be a very nice person.”

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