08.11.2010 0

This is what it’s come too…

The above crowd waits for a rent voucher.

This is where we are in America on August 11, 2010. People are standing in line for two days to get a discount on their rent. Not their mortgages, their rent. Obamanomics has failed.

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

A crowd of people hoping to get federal housing assistance became unruly Wednesday morning with reports of fights breaking out in the crowd.

Thousands of people were lined up at the Tri-Cities Plaza shopping center, hoping to apply for a voucher from the East Point Housing Authority that will give them a discount on their rent.

People began lining up at the shopping center two days ago, and by Wednesday morning the crowd had grown to over several thousand people. East Point police, some wearing riot helmets, were patrolling the area. Firefighters and EMTs were attending to people who were overheating in the sun. Police from College Park, Hapeville, Fulton County and MARTA assisted in crowd control.

Felecia McGhee told the AJC she arrived around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. She said the major problem began when people started breaking into the line and officials started moving the areas where they were handing out applications. She said she saw at least two small children trampled when the crowd rushed the building where the applications were to be handed out.

“It’s a real mess out here,” she said.

East Point Police Sgt. Cliff Chandler said most of those treated were suffering from heat-related illnesses. He did not have a total number of people treated but knew of at least a half-dozen cases. He said a toddler was treated earlier in the morning for “some type of seizure.” He estimated the crowd at 8,000 to 10,000.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Mike Petchenik  said fights were breaking out and police had to stop people who were storming the door.

Channel 2 reporter Tom Jones said, “There are thousands, I mean, thousands of people here. I’ve seen people fall out from the heat.”

No injuries were reported but an East Point police officer was treated for heat-related problems.

By late morning the crowd had thinned considerably and people were walking up and getting their applications without delay. But just before the 1 p.m. deadline, a line of about 200 people had formed. Shortly after 1 p.m., several people ran across the parking lot to get in line but were told by police that the line was closed.

Emergency personnel brought in a pickup truck full of bottled water and were handing it out to the crowd.

A sign on the door of the office explained that only applications were being handed out.

“The housing authority will be issuing applications Wednesday, August 11, starting at 9 a.m. Everyone in line by 1 p.m. on the 11th will receive an application. … No Section 8 vouchers are available at this time. There are no public housing units available at this time. You’re applying for the waiting list only.”

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, called Section 8, subsidized the rents of low-income families living in apartments and houses that are privately owned. The federal program makes up the difference in rent that the poor can afford and the fair market value for each area.

The federal government has specific standards for its subsidized properties but at the same time landlords are assured an income.

Only families with incomes no more than half the median income for the area qualify. The median income for the East Point area is less than $32,000, according to Census data. It is up to the renter to find a place that meets HUD standards, which includes being 90 percent to 110 percent of the “local fair market rent.”

Staff writer Rhonda Cook contributed to this article.

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