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Fort Pierce woman, 86, forced out of home after storms damage roof being repaired

Libby Piersall, former homeless advocate, hoping for miracle
Posted at 6:13 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 21:40:10-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Libby Piersall has lived in her Fort Pierce house on Osceola Avenue for 52 years.

She thought it was her forever home.

Then Sunday night's storms hit. The powerful storm tore holes in the roof that was being repaired for small leaks.

"When the rain came, it just poured in every little hole in the roof," Piersall said, noting the leaks were no longer small.

The damage was so extensive, Piersall was forced to leave her home, and now fears she won't be able to move back.

Libby Piersall Fort Pierce woman April 20, 2023.jpg
Libby Piersall points to a one of several holes in her ceiling.

The damage may be beyond repair and her caretaker said her homeowner's insurance was canceled earlier this month.

When Piersall showed WPTV inside, she pointed to several gaping holes in the ceiling, including a large one in the living room she didn't know about.

"Oh, are you talking about that?" she asked as she pointed to the rupture she just discovered. "I did not know that. That's terrible."

The stench from the water damage is unbearable.

Large hole in Libby Piersall's ceiling April 20 2023.jpg
Large hole in Libby Piersall's ceiling after storms damaged her roof that was being repaired.

"It smells like dirty clothes, and messy, musky," Piersall added.

Her caretaker said Piersall hates to ask for favors.

A 2004 newspaper article profiled Piersall and her late husband Dick for their work helping the hungry and the homeless.

Now, she needs help.

"To move back here," she said, wishing out loud, "It means everything, everything to me in life, because I don't have any family."

Newspaper article profiled Libby Piersall and her late husband Dick 2004.jpg
A 2004 newspaper article profiled Libby Piersall, and her late husband Dick for their work helping the hungry and the homeless.

Contact 5 called the St. Lucie County Council on Aging, where a staffer sent out emails to the county's Council of Social Workers to see what kind of help is available.

The Red Cross has put her up at a hotel, but with her stay about to end, Piersall doesn't know her next stop.

"I'll either sleep in my truck or on the streets or whatever," Piersall said.

She said her faith will get her through this ordeal, even though she has to check out of her hotel room Friday by 11 a.m.

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