About 12,000 people submitted applications for housing assistance from the Arlington Housing Authority during the 10 days the agency reopened its voucher program, an official said.
The last time the authority received that many applications, the program was open for months, not days, said David Zappasodi, the authority's executive director.
"I believe this is definitely an indicator of the stress folks are under as a result of the economic situation we face," he said.
Other housing authorities have also reported avalanches of applications for the housing choice vouchers, also known as Section 8. Stampedes were reported in other cities that require applicants to apply in person.
In Fort Worth, where applications were also taken online, 19,700 people recently applied in just five days.
In Arlington, the authority received about 2,000 applications in the first hour they were accepted, Zappasodi said. Applications were taken from Nov. 1 to Nov. 10.
Applicants can check their status by logging on to their account online, he said. The most important thing applicants can do is update their mailing address if they move while on the waiting list.
When applicants' vouchers are available, they are notified by mail, he said.
"Sometimes we get the mail back as undeliverable," Zappasodi said. "That hurts because we know they have been waiting for a while."
The Arlington authority is allotted 3,700 vouchers. Recipients of the federally funded vouchers pay 30 percent of their income toward rent. The housing authority pays the balance.
It's hard to predict how soon people on the waiting list will get vouchers, he said. Typically, 30 to 40 people transition out of the program every month.
Online: Arlington Housing Authority, www.arlingtontx.gov/housing/index.html
Alex Branch, 817-390-7689