Facebook group set up to take in evacuees

Local families opening their homes to Harvey victims who aren't able to live in their own.

Between 11-year-old Ayla, 9-year-old Eden, and 6-year-old twins Jude and Zeke, Jerra and Chris Murphy keep busy. 

Now, they're ready to take in a few more folks to their Round Rock home. 

"We're going to be consolidating all four of our children into one room, and allowing a family to move into our older children's room," said Jerra Murphy.

Tens of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed from Hurricane Harvey, forcing many into shelters or temporary housing. 

"(Officials/meteorologists) said it could be this bad, and it was just really hard to imagine what that would really look like.  Also just the vast number of people that were affected, and the wide area of people that were affected," said Murphy. 

Despite currently having no available rooms, the Murphy's are creating a space. They also have plans to clear out a bathroom specifically to be used for a family of evacuees. 

"Just as a mom, my heart's just really broken for these people. I just wanted to find a way to help," said Murphy. 

Murphy started this Facebook group, called Texas Welcomes You In. Members post how many people they can take in, how many rooms or beds are available, and other information ranging from pets to transportation. 

"I wanted to let people set their own terms," said Murphy. 

Homeowners and evacuees would connect through the page, and message each other directly to coordinate arrangements. 

"(We) have a big family, a family of six. And I just couldn't imagine what it would be like to go to one of these shelters and try to get them to sleep, and try to get them in the restrooms when they needed a restroom. And really, (we) just wanted to open up our home," explained Murphy.

The difficult part has been connecting with those in need. From downed power lines to no cell service, evacuees are typically first sent to the shelter. 

"When they dig into recovery efforts, there might be that need of getting to that second shelter place. So I think when that happens, that home might be more appealing to them," Murphy explained. 

While the Murphy's and other families are open to accepting evacuees, they're also aware of the risk of taking in strangers to their home. 

"I do think that is always is a risk.  And I wanted to put that across up front in the Facebook group. I'm a Christian. And I believe that loving takes risk. I believe that Jesus asks us to do that. So I think that's going to be up to the individual and the person. And if you're comfortable taking those risks. And if you're not, find another avenue to give, but give," said Murphy. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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