East Texas Families Opening Homes To Evacuated Relatives

Housing evacuees from dangerous hurricanes has become a family affair. "It's my sister and her husband, two children, plus in-laws and neighbors and friends," says Sharon Russell about the guests who've descended on her home. Sharon and her husband Paul rearranged their 1800 square foot home to house 14 adults and children, 14 pets and squeezed eight cars in the driveway. "We have a used car lot out here, I started to put a sign outside," says Paul jokingly. "We're in the computer room with two air mattresses and three of us sleeping on those. We're in the dining room with five in there. One on each of the sofas," says Sharon's sister Carol Nance. The Russells' offer to help extended past family. Two neighbors from Orange were also invited to stay, both are widowed. "I brought pictures of course that's one of the things that can't be replaced," says the family's 87-year-old friend Trudy Blair. "I brought some papers and I brought what jewelry I had. And I forgot a toothbrush! We're going to Walmart," says family friend Millie Keller. But a trip to Walmart for the Fuentes family will take more than just a car ride. Angie Fuentes opened her doors to more than fifty of her relatives. "To me I feel like a blessing because I hardly see these people and then all of a sudden I see them all!," says Angie with a big smile. What normally is a household of two, Angie says being a host has been fun. "Our family is really close and we knew she would be there for us," says Angie's relative Leticia Licon. While both families worry about what Rita has in store for their homes, there's some comfort knowing that they will always have each.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com