At least five families in Fayette County are now homeless after the June 29 storm destroyed their houses.

Though no direct government assistance is currently available to them, one family will be in an apartment this week as the result of a wide-ranging community effort.

James Hoffman’s residence on Boonesborough Road was damaged heavily when a large oak tree fell on it during the storm.

“As a result of the storm, an oak tree virtually destroyed the rental home in which he (Hoffman) was living,” said 11th District Sen. Bill Laird.

Hoffman’s 16-year-old daughter was home alone when the tree crashed down, but she was able to escape.

“She just started running and jumping across branches and stuff,” said her father.

After returning home from an outing near Montgomery that night — a trip made much longer because of downed trees and power lines on both sides of the river — Hoffman and his wife, Patricia, were reunited with their daughter, who related details of the evening.

The Hoffmans first stayed in a tent near the home, then in a temporary shelter in Montgomery.

For the last three days, they have been lodged in the Glen Ferris Inn by the American Red Cross.

Operators of the Glen Ferris Inn were “absolutely wonderful” in providing three days of lodging at a “substantial discount,” Laird stressed.

“The concern was to find some transitional housing,” he added. “The Hoffmans now have a place to stay.”

The United Way of Southern West Virginia has agreed to pay the security deposit to rent an apartment in Falls View for the family, and three churches — Fayetteville United Methodist, Fayetteville Presbyterian and Mountain View Church of God — have teamed up to pay the balance of the first month’s rent, the senator said.

The “excellent cooperation” of all involved has helped “meet these folks’ needs” and is representative of the community coming together, said Laird.

“It’s been an ordeal. I’ve dealt with floods and dealt with blizzards, and this is right up there,” he said. “The community has responded really well.”

Not every family in Fayette County is out of the woods yet, however.

Laird, the Red Cross, United Way and others are still working to meet the needs of four other displaced families, including the following cases:

• A family of two whose mobile home was destroyed on Teng Lane near Glen Jean.

• A Scarbro woman, currently staying with neighbors, who lost her 1910 home to the storm.

• A family of two whose Oak Hill home was destroyed by a power line fire. The family needs a temporary home for a few days or money for a hotel until they can move in to another property that is lined up for them.

• A woman whose home was destroyed by a massive tree on Martin Avenue in Oak Hill. She is reportedly still living in her house and has not had any contact with her family.

If you have any information about housing in Fayette County for these displaced families, call the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services at 304-574-3590 or the Red Cross at 304-469-4636.

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