Student senate meeting to include town hall focused on Manhattan housing

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During the SGA senate meeting on Thursday night, students and community members will have an opportunity to engage in a town hall with city commissioners.

“I’ll give a brief presentation introducing the city commissioners, we’ll explain the outline of the event,” Hayley Spellman, chair for the government relations committee and senior in political science and communication studies, said. “The commissioners will be able to introduce themselves and give their perspective and give a little bit of insight to the group, and then we’ll want to do questions after that.”

The event — which is open to the public — is aimed at providing a platform for students and others who have had issues with their housing situations.

“If students have concerns about their housing issues, whether it’s about their safety or affordability of their current housing situation, that will give them opportunities to express their stories, share their concerns [and] ask the city commissioners questions,” Spellman said. “That is also an opportunity to look into rental inspections.”

Spellman said some students are unaware of their right to request a rental inspection and others may not have the time to go through with one. She added that if there is not a regular rental inspection being performed, there is a good chance it is not being maintained.

“In terms of the safety focus, I’ve heard stories of students living in unsafe housing where their doors don’t lock properly at night, their windows don’t seal properly, there’s mold in their housing,” she said. “In a lot of those cases, the mold can become toxigenic and have negative health impacts on those students and the people living in Manhattan.”

Spellman said they want to take those stories and share them with the commissioners. Aside from rental inspections, students can also discuss housing from an economic standpoint.

“My story focuses more on affordability of housing in Manhattan,” she said. “According to the [Department of Housing and Urban Development] standards, anything more than 30 percent of your income, if that goes to housing, is considered cost-burden. Anything over 50 percent is considered severely cost-burden.”

Spellman noted she has been negatively affected by the housing prices in Manhattan and she knows a lot of students who have had similar struggles. This is the first time Student Governing Association has hosted something like this since she has been there.

The town hall will be held in Wildcat Chamber in the K-State Student Union at 7 p.m. after student senate roll call.

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Hi there! I'm Julie Freijat and I'm the culture editor and an assistant news editor for the Collegian. I love science and technology, hate poor movie dialogue and my favorite subreddit is r/truecrime.