Crowd In East Point Waiting For Housing Vouchers Gets Rowdy

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From the AJC.com:

A crowd of people hoping to get federal housing assistance became unruly Wednesday morning with reports of fights breaking out in the crowd.

Thousands of people were lined up at the Tri-Cities Plaza shopping center, hoping to apply for a voucher from the East Point Housing Authority that will give them a discount on their rent.

People began lining up at the shopping center two days ago, and by Wednesday morning the crowd had grown to over several thousand people. East Point police, some wearing riot helmets, were patrolling the area. Firefighters and EMTs were attending to people who were overheating in the sun. Police from College Park, Hapeville, Fulton County and MARTA assisted in crowd control.

Felecia McGhee told the AJC she arrived around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. She said the major problem began when people started breaking into the line and officials started moving the areas where they were handing out applications. She said she saw at least two small children trampled when the crowd rushed the building where the applications were to be handed out.

“It’s a real mess out here,” she said.

East Point Police Sgt. Cliff Chandler said most of those treated were suffering from heat-related illnesses. He did not have a total number of people treated but knew of at least a half-dozen cases. He said a toddler was treated earlier in the morning for “some type of seizure.” He estimated the crowd at 8,000 to 10,000.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Mike Petchenik said fights were breaking out and police had to stop people who were storming the door.

Channel 2 reporter Tom Jones said, “There are thousands, I mean, thousands of people here. I’ve seen people fall out from the heat.”

Read more here.

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