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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The East Point Housing Authority might be poorly run

The AJC is reporting that a massive crowd of around 30,000 people descended on Tri-Cities Plaza shopping center in East Point today in order to fill out applications to receive Section 8 housing vouchers.

Fights broke out, children were trampled, and more than 60 people required medical attention after they were forced to wait in the unbearable heat, some for several days.

The real kicker: a sign posted on the door of the storefront where the applications were being distributed explained that vouchers aren’t even available as of now. The most filling out an application will get anyone is a spot on what’s sure to be a lengthy waiting list — and that's only if they qualify.

There are so many questions that need to be asked of the East Point Housing Authority officials about this, most importantly, why it was necessary to create an unsafe situation in order for people of modest means to do something as simple as apply for housing assistance. Are applications not always available? Why the hell not?

Calls to the housing authority's office are sent directly to an automated system that provides the option of either entering your party's extension or listening to a by-name directory. No one's job title is given, and even if you happen to randomly pick the right person, the call is dropped rather than sent to voicemail if they don't pick up. The authority also doesn't appear to have a website — the link provided on the Atlanta Housing Authority's site is down.

DeBorah Hargrove, an executive assistant in East Point Mayor Earnestine Pittman’s office, told CL that people have had trouble contacting the authority by phone all week. Hargrove provided us with East Point Housing Authority executive director Kim Lemish's cell phone number, but she has yet to return our call.

Check Fresh Loaf for more on this story.

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