Jun 26, 2012 7:17 PM by Elizabeth Hill
Several hundred people gathered this morning at the Domingue Center in Lafayette in hopes of receiving a federally funded Section 8 housing voucher.
Eligible applicants, some waiting since yesterday evening, were able to put their name on a waiting list for the vouchers. This is the first time since 2009 the Lafayette Housing Authority has opened the waiting list. There is no definite number of vouchers that will be given out and no time table for when applicants might receive them.
Many people waiting weren't surprised to see so many people in line early to get on the waiting list. Doors opened this morning at 10.
"By the time I came at five it was packed. There was no use coming at seven because you were already too late," said Lashawn Evans.
Some people say they'd been waiting since as early as five o'clock yesterday evening. They say they were frustrated by the disorganization of the process and actually took it upon themselves to make a list of people as they arrived so no one actually had to stay in a line to keep their place. Even Lafayette Housing Authority officials were surprised by the turnout.
"We're not surprised there are this many people needing assistance, we're a little surprised by the turnout and we didn't necessarily anticipate it," said COO Katie Anderson.
"At the end everyone wanted to start fighting, acting up, pushing, it was just real bad when you have to sit all night and be on the waiting list."
Shontell Melancon was first in line to sign her name on the list, waiting since yesterday evening, but now the wait starts all over again.
"I just hope that I just get a voucher."