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Stampede Chaos as Thousands of Dallas Residents Apply for Housing Vouchers


“Once they said we could go on the property, it was a stampede, a circus."

A crush of thousands of Dallas residents caused some early morning chaos in a mad scramble to line up for a housing voucher waiting list Thursday.

At least eight minor injuries were reported in the rush to apply for the vouchers, which if approved, would pay a portion of the holder's rent.

The Dallas Morning News has more:

When, at 6 a.m., officials said it was time to form a line, a frantic rush ensued — the latest sign of people’s desperation for help in tough times. There were no serious injuries, but video footage of the chaos received national attention.

“Once they said we could go on the property, it was a stampede, a circus,” said Adelia Frierson, a 24-year-old single mother applying for the federally funded assistance.

Zachary Thompson, the county’s director of health and human services, said the turnout once again demonstrates the need for the Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8. By the end of the day, about 5,000 households had applied. Applicants for the housing vouchers are not required to live in Dallas County.

Thursday marked the first time Dallas County had opened its waiting list since 2006. The county has about 3,800 vouchers at a given time and distributes them as they become available, which could take up to two years. They do not expire, but holders can become financially stable enough not to need them.

The Dallas Housing Authority and the city of Plano, Texas both saw similar responses when they opened their voucher application process last May for the first time in years: More than 21,000 applied with the DHA, mostly online, for 5,000 waiting list spots, and 8,000 applied for 100 available vouchers in Plano.

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