Subsidized housing: 600 applications whittled down to 200 - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Subsidized housing: 600 applications whittled down to 200

Reporter: Lindsay Cohen

Angry residents, fuming families and, now, a decision that will most likely make people outraged.

Last week, there was a near riot when housing officials gave out Section 8 Housing Applications. Hundreds were then turned away empty handed.

Two thousand people showed up for 600 applications. Those are eventually whittled down to just 200 spots. So, if you do the math, it only added up to frustration and fury.

"Me and my three children. We need housing," says a concerned mother.

They came with similar stories. "All I could think about: I was like, 'Oh my God, I have to get this opportunity,'" states another.

The opportunity: affordable housing.

The women in the audience Wednesday night knew it was a rare chance for them and their children. But, they didn't come out to Boca Raton last week expecting this: the crunch, the chaos, the confusion that ensued.

A woman describes last week's event: "It was heartbreaking because you had kids that was getting hurt, children that went to the hospital. My friend had to basically hold her baby so tight."

Women holding their babies tight. Some getting trampled. Police in riot gear called out to help control a crowd of 2,000 trying to get Section 8 voucher applications for 600.

Now, federal authorities demanded answers from those behind last week's incident. "You got a health and safety issue on your hands."

It was a health and safety issue that led the housing authority's director to make the decision to give out applications early. Some to those who waited overnight.

Wednesday night leaders decided to keep the applications that had already been turned in. But firmly suggested changing the process in the future.

"Don't say the first 200 people gonna get it. That's what made people really angry and really wanting to try and get there," one upset woman says.

So, here's what will happen: The Boca Raton Housing Authority will take the existing applications that have been turned in. They'll toss any that have been photocopied or faxed. Then, they'll hold a lottery for 200 spots.

As for the future, officials say, they will consider handing out applications over a longer period of time, like weeks or a month, to eliminate the lines and the crowds. But no decisions on that were made.

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