Wednesday proved to be a long, hot day for nearly 130 people waiting in line at the Walker County Housing Authority offices to receive aid, and the process for some could take longer.

Mary Harrelson, the WCHA executive director, said last week the waiting list would be set up on a first-come, first-served basis, and the line would form early.

“It will be opened only that day, but we will take everybody in line that day, even if it’s after 3:30 before we get through with them,” Harrelson said.

Residents were required to come with paperwork filled out or could fill out a packet before getting their name on the list. Some residents said people came at 11 p.m. Tuesday night to line up for numbers. The office opened at 5 a.m. Wednesday to begin the application process.

The housing authority, Harrelson said, is a housing voucher program that helps people who need assistance pay rent, who might otherwise have difficulty doing so.

“We have 251 vouchers, but HUD (Housing Utility District) has cut our money the past several years, so we have to be very careful,” Harrelson said. “Every month, we can’t issue all 251 of them, but we do the very best we can with the funds that we have.

“We issue them a voucher and they go out and find their own place to rent. We enter a contract with the landlord, and they sign a lease with them. The amount of rent we pay is based on what their income is, so if they have a little income, they probably will be paying a little bit of their rent, but it’s based on 30 percent of their gross income.”

About 10 people waited outside for their number to be called around noon Wednesday and were able to sit on a couch in front of a fan, under a porch to wait. Vending machines were also available outside.

One woman said she arrived at 8 a.m. and already the list was up to No. 100.

At noon, there were 129 people on the list. Officials said they expected up to 140 total on the final tally.

Another applicant said the line moved much faster than what she expected, while groups of women were talking about how well they were being treated this year versus last year during the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.

Not many complaints were heard from people in line. One woman was upset she missed her number and had to sign up for another number. Another woman was new to Huntsville and lived with her aunt. She had no source of income, which was required to receive assistance.

Officials said some of the 140 residents who signed up wouldn’t finish the process Wednesday, however, once initiated, residents had two weeks to finish the process in order to receive aid.