In an unsettling manifestation of today’s troubled times, at least eight people suffered injuries last week as thousands rushed for a chance at housing assistance in Dallas. People began waiting to form the eventual mile-long line Wednesday evening, but when Dallas Housing Authority officials unexpectedly began allowing people onto the Jesse Owens Memorial Complex property at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, the desperate crowd made a run for the doors. The immense gathering ranged from young mothers with children to senior citizens with canes, each hoping to secure a spot on a waiting list for Housing Choice, also known as Section 8 Vouchers.
Over 21,000 applications were submitted online and in-person for the 100 available vouchers on Thursday, July 14. Even those who were able to obtain one of only 5,000 spots on the waiting list, which has not been opened since 2006, are far from relief, as it often takes upwards of two years for a name to move to the front of the file. Housing Choice Vouchers are a popular form of federal relief, paying a portion of rent based on household income directly to landlords. The Dallas Housing Authority has 3,800 available at a time. The vouchers don’t expire, but are forfeited when the holder becomes self-sufficient or if they violate the program’s rules.
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