Source: AJC

Thirty thousand people showed up to receive Section 8 housing applications in East Point Wednesday, suffering through hours in the hot sun, angry flare-ups in the crowd and lots of frustration and confusion for a chance to receive a government-subsidized apartment.

The massive event sometimes descended into a chaotic mob scene filled with anger and impatience. Some 62 people needed medical attention and 20 of them were transported to a hospital, authorities said. A baby went into a seizure in the heat and was stabilized at a hospital. People were removed on stretchers and when a throng of people who had been waiting hours in a line were told to move to another line, people started pushing, shoving and cursing, witnesses said.

Still, officials of East Point declared the day a success. Nobody was arrested and nobody was seriously injured, they said. It was an assessment roundly challenged by many of the people who had to go through it.

Kim Lemish, executive director of the East Point Housing Authority, said the event marked the first time the city has offered Section 8 housing applications since 2002. The waiting list that lasted eight years had depleted, she said, and the agency was beginning a new one. So people braved all the physical difficulties just to get on a waiting list that could keep them waiting for years.

Lemish said the agency had expected about 10,000 people but three times as many showed up. Many were just accompanying those looking for an application. Some 13,000 applications were handed out.

Concern is rising that a similar scene could occur Thursday when the housing authority of this small city begins accepting the completed applications. Wednesday’s event was only to hand out the paperwork. The housing authority will begin accepting applications at 9 a.m.

Some of the crowd waited for two days at the Tri-Cities Plaza shopping center. As the temperature rose Wednesday, people fell ill.

Sgt. Cliff Chandler, spokesman for the East Point Police Department, said a toddler was treated earlier in the morning for “some type of seizure,” Chandler said.

Continue Reading…

Advertisements