By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A line wrapping around the 1500 block of Fairmount Avenue Wednesday night illustrated the shortage of affordable housing in Philadelphia.

Hundreds of people camped out, waiting to apply for a unit in a new apartment building for the formerly homeless.

Kamisha Graham arrived at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 22 hours before Project HOME began accepting applications for the North Broad Street units.

“I never slept. I actually sat in a chair, on my crate, and I stayed up all night,” she said.

Hundreds wait outside for their chance at one of 88 available apartments.
(credit: Pat Loeb)

She wasn’t alone. Angela arrived a short time later.

“It’s a first come, first serve basis, so this is what you do. And if you do it for new shoes, new phone, you do it for an apartment,” said Angela.

But Project HOME founder Sister Mary Scullion says there’s a difference: housing isn’t a luxury like designer shoes or hi-tech phones.

“Housing is such a fundamental need and there are so many people in our city without an affordable safe place to call home. It’s so heartbreaking,” she said.

The North Broad building has 88 apartments, so hundreds of people were bound to be disappointed but waited anyway because they have few other options.