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Video: Family opens their home to hurricane relatives

TODAY
updated 9/29/2005 11:12:37 AM ET 2005-09-29T15:12:37

As thousands of evacuees sought refuge from the storms that battered the Gulf Coast, a couple in Pennsylvania opened their home in an unprecedented way -- inviting all the members of their extended family to come stay with them -- all 50 of them.

Seeing the images of devastation in the wake of the hurricanes that struck New Orleans, Tim and Patricia Edwards worried about their relatives living in the effected area. 

"About three days after, I didn't have the slightest idea where they were," says Patricia Edwards.

Immediately, the Edwards decided to open up their four-bedroom home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to their mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins who had lost everything.

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"I was only looking for five people,” says Patricia. “I didn't know I was going to have the amount that showed up at the door."

In total, over 50 -- yes, 50 family members are now living under one roof.

All were originally from 12 houses in St. Bernard Parish, the hard-hit neighborhood just outside of New Orleans. Some left before Hurricane Katrina. Others had to be rescued from their rooftops after Katrina. And a few were evacuated to Houston before heading to Pennsylvania as Hurricane Rita approached.  

Now they're coping in a congested house to do the basics in life, sleeping wherever they can, sharing one and half bathrooms and cooking for a small army. 

But things are improving. The children are attending school while many of the adults are looking for work in the new town they call now home.

"It's going to take a while still but we working on it,” says Patricia. We're getting there."

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