Tuesday, June 16, 2015
More than 650 people camped outside the Monticello Housing Authority on Evergreen Road for as much as 10 hours Sunday night to apply for one of the 50 available subsidized housing slots in Sullivan County. Many were Hasidic men and women from outside the county, according to Monticello Housing Authority Executive Director Anne Johnson.
Monday was the first day county and non-county residents could apply to be on the Monticello Housing Authority waiting list for Section 8 - or federally subsidized - housing, Johnson said. It was the first time people could apply to be on that list in five years.
The crowd formed around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to residents of the Evergreen Apartment complex, where the Housing Authority is located.
The authority's office didn't open until 8 a.m. on Monday.
The crowd woke up several residents in the complex. They say those waiting in line were making too much noise and parking in their privately-owned parking spaces. Other residents said there were too many cars blocking Evergreen Drive, preventing school buses from getting in and picking up children.
"They were very disrespectful," said Evergreen resident Elaine Williams, former president and current secretary for the Sullivan County NAACP.
Several Hasidic men and women declined comment.
Monticello Police Chief Robert Mir said police were on the scene early Monday morning. He said they stopped letting cars into the Evergreen complex around 6 a.m.
Police also tried to get some of those waiting in line to park in municipal lots.
But Mir said some didn't follow police requests and began parking in spots owned by residents. Several residents exercised their rights to have those cars impounded by private towing companies, Mir said.
Johnson said they accepted applications from anyone, regardless of where they lived - as long as their applications were complete and they had a proof of residence.
Within the complex requirements, applications are first-come, first-served, Mir said.
However, preference will be given to Sullivan residents, according to Johnson.
Those that are chosen for the housing vouchers can be used anywhere in the county where Section 8 payments are accepted, Johnson said.
She was well aware not all of them will be able to get subsidies. At least, not immediately.
"There's no way we're going to be able to accommodate all of them," Johnson said. "Maybe in a couple of years."
By noon, Johnson said the line shrunk significantly.
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