SPRINGFIELD, VA. (WUSA9) - If you think raising 11 children might be challenging, try doing it out of a hotel after your home goes up in flames.
That's the Pearson family's life at the moment. In June, an electrical fire damaged their Springfield rental home. Now, this family of 13 is crammed into four hotel rooms off I-95.
What's left from their home fills containers stacked one on top of another, along with donations from friends and strangers.
They try to stay hopeful.
"Just keep on trusting in God," said Titus Pearson, the father of the 11 children.
And keep their sense of humor.
"This is the hotel and so the kids call it the home-tel," joked Titus.
But it's not always easy.
"Not being able to be a family, it's like our normal is gone," admitted Roshawnda, Titus’ wife and mother to the children.
Yet, they still have to do normal things -- Titus still has to go to work, the kids are getting ready to start school -- in a situation that's anything but normal.
"The simple things, like the family being able to eat together," Titus said.
They can't do that, it would require a kitchen table, which wouldn't fit in their hotel room kitchen.
"We are a family of 13,” Roshawnda said. “We need a house for all of us."
But they can't seem to find one big enough or a landlord willing to take on all of them.
Roshawnda said the biggest problem has actually been their previous landlord, the one who owns what's left of this Springfield house.
"That's been the biggest hold up of all -- the reference from the previous landlord," she explained.
That landlord told WUSA9 that the Pearson’s are good people and good tenants who always paid on time. But, he admits, when prospective landlords asked him if he'd rent to them again, he said "no.” It was just too many people for his house.
"We were shocked,” Roshawnda said. “We've been him for five years and we've had a wonderful relationship with him.”
"I've heard the good things that he has said about our family and I appreciate those but the negative things seem to hold more weight," she continued.
Now, this family needs a house, but first, they need a chance.
"Give our family a chance, just give us a chance," pleaded Roshawnda.
The Pearson’s have to be out of the hotel by September 30. If you'd like to help, you can contact their real estate agent, Bonnetta Hubbard with EXP Realty, at 571-234-1194.