During a time of need, a local business has stepped up to help a local family by ensuring they have a place to stay for Christmas.
William Pritchett and his family have had a difficult time finding somewhere to stay since their mobile home was struck by a driver in the beginning of November.
The home sustained extensive damage to the plumbing, porch and one of the bedrooms and, despite repairs, is not yet up to building code standards, meaning the family cannot reside there.
The juvenile driver is facing charges, but staff from the office of the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney could not comment on the case because the driver is underage.
Pritchett said the last couple months have been rough on his family, who have exhausted their savings staying at hotels since the incident and spent a month at the Salvation Army in Charlottesville.
“It’s been difficult, but we’ve all kept working and trying to get our home fixed,” he said.
Pritchett said he even tried to take out a loan, but even that was not enough to cover the repairs.
Lyria Hailstork of Charlottesville’s victim/witness department has been working with the Pritchetts. After learning more about their situation, she reached out on their behalf to various organizations to find them housing.
“They didn’t do anything wrong, they’re victims of an alleged crime, and yet they’re still having difficulty finding somewhere to stay,” she said.
After hearing about the family’s situation from members of the Charlottesville Circuit Court staff, Charles Friend, manager of the Residence Inn Marriott, offered the family a place to stay for two weeks.
“It seemed unfair for them not to have somewhere to stay, especially on Christmas, so we offered them a room to stay for two weeks,” he said. “Thankfully, many of our suites here come with kitchens, allowing our guests to cook if they want and spread out.”
Friend said the Residence Inn Marriott regularly offers rooms free of cost to various people in need, notably through a yearslong arrangement with the American Cancer Society, which provides people traveling for treatment a place to stay.
Friend said he has reached out to other hotels to help the Pritchett family find somewhere to stay.
“We’re happy we were able to provide them a place to stay, especially during this time of the year,” he said.
Pritchett said he and his family appreciate the help they’ve received so far and hopes to be back in their home soon.