When Dallas County in Texas announced that it would be taking applications for federally-subsidized rental assistance vouchers on Thursday, officials never anticipated that a crowd of 5000 people would show up as early as 10 pm the previous night.
The early arrivals were told to come back later, but instead they parked their cars along the street and simply waited. When the gates were finally opened the next morning, hundreds of people stampeded forward, with at least eight sustaining injuries in the rush and requiring treatment by paramedics.
Now local officials are arguing over who was to blame. The Dallas County Sheriff’s office says they’d planned for a large crowd but the Dallas Police Department failed to come out and direct traffic. But the police say they weren’t notified in advance and had no idea there was a problem until it was too late.
This is the first time in five years that the waiting list for vouchers has been opened. Only 100 vouchers are available right now, with 3800 to become available for the current applicants over the next two to four years.
This video was posted by WFAA-TV on July 14, 2011.