Community members camp out overnight for potential affordable housing

ODESSA,Tx. (KOSA) More than sixty community members camped out overnight in Odessa in hopes of getting a spot on an affordable housing list.

Community members armed with tents, lawn chairs, blankets and snacks lined up outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center off 2nd Street in Odessa Thursday afternoon to land a spot on the Odessa Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List.

One community member who is pregnant, Mary-Jane Aguillon, sat towards the front of the line with her two children.

“All of us out here paying $1,200 a month, it’s ridiculous for a two-bedroom. And for us single mothers just out here by ourselves, we can’t make it. We’re prepared to stay here all night early into the morning. So yeah, it’s going to be kind of tough, but I’m willing to just to get the help. Because the first go, first serve, for the first 60 people,” she said.

Like dozens of others, Aguillon said it's hard to find affordable housing amid the oil boom. Just around the building, sat mother of four and number 40 in line, Amy Lorraine, and some of her children.

“Being a single mom I have to work, of course, to provide for the kids. But rent is so expensive. And I have to get a second job, which I can’t because of my kids, to be able to afford it. It just kind of puts me in a bind, really puts me in a bind,” she said.

The community members said the Odessa Housing Authority’s waiting list hasn’t opened up since last year. The community members chatted while the children played as they waited for the sun to come up so they could score a number and a meeting with an Odessa Housing Authority representative at 9 a.m. on Friday.

“Doesn’t happen very often so it’s worth coming out here and taking the chance trying to get a place to live,” Lorraine said.

Community members said the Odessa Housing Authority will be taking 60 applicants every Friday for the next several weeks.