WYOMING, Mich. (March 24, 2014) — It’s been nearly four years since the Wyoming Housing Commission opened it’s wait list for section 8 housing.
On Monday, crowds by the thousands got in the line that wrapped around the building, hoping to fill out an application and get placed on the list. But, within minutes fighting and arguing broke out.
“It’s like the Hunger Games; that there’s people pushing…people being belligerent,” Elizabeth Sturm, a person waiting in line, said.
Wyoming police were brought to the scene to help keep the peace amongst the crowd. One officer could be seen standing on a chair in front of the door as people tried to push their way into the building.
“Stop. Don’t push forward,” the officer yelled. “You’re not getting anywhere…there’s only so much space her so don’t push.”
Witnesses told FOX 17 the fighting began when people started cutting in line. The area was initially taped off and orange cones were placed throughout the area to guide people to the door. But, it wasn’t enough to keep order.
“It’s date and time based (the application) and I think that’s why people are anxious to be able to get the assistance,” Wyoming Housing Commission Executive Director Rebeca Venema said.”We’re the first ones to open up the waiting list in this jurisdiction area in Kent County.”
But, for many people waiting in line they felt the housing commission should’ve prepared better for the event.
“When they do this again they really need to get a better system because there’s people that work hard and I’m one of them and I’ve been at work all night long and came out here and stood in this line and it’s not for at least 15 to 20 people to walk up and cut ’cause they’re out here to help everybody,” one woman said.
The housing commission said they’ll be open from Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The last day to file an application is April 3.
“The volume this time has exceeded last,” Venema said. “A little rowdier this time.”
Sturm, who waited in line for several hours, said she hopes people will come together and be patient.
“We’re all poor people, we all want the same thing,” Sturm said. But, people how can we expect the government to help us if we can’t govern ourselves.”