Hundreds camp out for 50 housing vouchers

August 26, 2009 9:55:43 AM PDT
In south suburban Park Forest, hundreds of people camped out overnight, hoping to win a housing voucher for their families. Some were in line since Tuesday, with sleeping bags and tents. At 10 a.m., the first 250 people were given applications for the village program, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Only 50 will be picked in a lottery drawing to get a voucher for housing.

Some of the families camping out with small children are homeless.

"We are doing all we can to try to provide, activity is hard out here right now," said Antione Brown, who was seeking housing.

"We have been here since 2 o'clock, my aunt and I, and the rest of the family. We are out here hoping and praying. My kids and I are homeless," said Rickia Hudson, also seeking housing.

"I want to get a break and get somewhere decent for my daughter," said Tasha Young, seeking housing.

Low-income recipients of the vouchers must be eligible under federal guidelines to be placed in the housing program.

"Just making it, paying extremely high rent, and I take care of two little babies, and I'm only 22 years old," said Jasmine Taylor, applicant.

Like Taylor, many had been there for at least 24 hours, camping out, trying to get assistance from a program called the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which used to be called Section 8.

"You know, the economy is real bad. It's hard to pay your rent, you know, people barely making it. I've been looking for a job for a year, you know. It's real hard out here," said Yvette McMurtry, applicant.

Those people who were first in the overnight line and had been given wristbands were allowed into the building.

"What do we say to those that don't make the cutoff?" said Hudson. "That was my first question. And unfortunately, I don't know how it's going to work for them because it's truly evident that people are in need and that they're willing to come out and camp out overnight just to have an opportunity to participate in a lottery even."

There haven't been any housing voucher openings in Park Forest in 10 years. A computer will ultimately decide which applicants are selected for those vouchers. Those people will be notified in about 30 days.


Load Comments