Overwhelming demand briefly crashes Philadelphia Housing Authority website on first day of voucher program

The Philadelphia Housing Authority's website briefly crashed on Monday as it opened its voucher program for affordable housing for the first time in over a decade.

The city was able to reopen the waiting list after it helped about 55,000 eligible people find affordable housing over the last twelve years. It will open for a two-week period beginning on Jan. 23 through Feb. 5 and applicants must apply online.

President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority Kelvin Jeremiah told FOX 29's Monica Evans that once all the applications are submitted, the department will select 10,000 applicants through a lottery system. The first 2,000 will be given a voucher while the others will remain on the waitlist.

"I really hope the Lord sends one of his angels out, and I'll be one of the ones selected for housing," Jamiette Johnson said. 

The vouchers pay about 70% of the applicants rent and allows them to look for homes in the private market that are not owned and operated by the Housing Authority. 

"Right now I'm paying $275 a month, but I live in a building where a lot of stuff is going on," Linda Felder said. "People are drinking, getting high, using drugs, and people are coming in there that don't belong in the building, fighting, there's just no peace in the building, and I really don't feel safe."

Officials with the Housing Authority want applicants to be aware of scammers who promise to expedite their applications. 

"Anyone asking or guaranteeing you in exchange for payment you'll be placed on a waiting list or guaranteed a voucher know that it's a scam – keep your money," Jeremiah said.