Thousands almost riot over affordable housing applications in Orange
(10/11/06) ORANGE ? A Section 8 housing application event degraded to riot-like conditions Thursday when thousands of people showed up to grab only 200 applications.
The event was held at the Washington Manor apartment building on Thomas Boulevard. The Orange Housing Authority advertised the applications in a newspaper, but it may have severely underestimated the demand for affordable housing. Thousands of residents descended on the area, causing police to jump in and contain the crowd.
Some residents in the crowd feared they were going to be crushed. Police then began using mace as a way to hold back the eager crowd, a move that has drawn harsh criticism from those in attendance. Some say the use of mace was overkill. One woman says she had to cover up her 2-month-old baby to prevent the child from getting sprayed with the substance.
Housing authority representatives stopped handing out applications, and said they will regroup and reschedule a similar event for the future. They said that application process will be advertised in the paper as well.