Thursday, August 12, 2010

My taxes at work..................

:34 a.m. Thursday, August 12, 2010

East Point housing officials begain accepting Section 8 applications 90 minutes early Wednesday morning after crowds of people showed up to turn in the forms.

A day after a crowd of 30,000 mobbed a shopping center to pick up the forms, a small crowd of less than a dozen people began lining up around 5 a.m. The group was dispersed by East Point police about an hour later. But shortly after 7 a.m., officials allowed people to line up on the sidewalk adjacent to the building. There were about 50 people in line at 7:30, when officials brought out boxes and began to accept the applications. That process had been scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Authorities had blocked off the parking lots at the East Point Housing Authority offices on Norman Berry Drive and were encouraging applicants to return their forms by mail, but that didn't stop people from queuing up outside the doors at 5 a.m.

Marissa White arrived at the Housing Authority office about 6:25 a.m. and walked up to the front door to wait to turn in her application.

Within minutes, an East Point police officer drove by and told White she could not wait outside the office.

“They want us to mail it in, but most folks aren’t going to mail theirs in, thinking they will get lost in the mail,” she said. “And they said first come, first served, so I’m going to be there first,” she said.

White said she lined up at Tri-Cities Plaza just after midnight Wednesday morning to get her application.

“It was so disorganized,” White said. She said authorities had set up barricades to keep the lines orderly, “but those folks knocked them down in 30 minutes.”

“It was crazy,” she said. “It was a sight to see.”

An estimated 30,000 people suffered 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 was 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.

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