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‘There is hope;’ Madison woman overcomes homelessness with help from United Way

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mo whitehead

DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- When things get tough, it can feel nearly impossible to get back on your feet, but a Madison woman is sharing her story hoping to inspire others to reach out to the United Way of Dane County for help.

Mo Whitehead lost her home in 2015 after she had just given birth to her second child.

The Madison apartment complex where she lived in was changing ownership and Whitehead was no longer welcome there.

"I didn't know what to do," she remembered. "I quit my job and go into a shelter."

Bouncing around to different homeless shelters across the state, she eventually came back to Madison and made one of the toughest decisions of her life.

"At that point, I have a 13-year-old and I didn't want her to have to go through not knowing where we were going to stay at so I let her stay with a friend of mine. So we separated," said Whitehead.

But her older daughter struggled without her mom by her side and her grades started dropping.

Whitehead knew something had to change. That's when her caseworker suggested the United Way of Dane County and some of its partner agencies.

"From there was a trickle-down effect. Talking with someone here at the United Way, they might have mentioned a program at the Urban League or just connecting with different people," Whitehead said.

And that's what the United Way does for countless people in our community.

"We all want every member of our Dane County community to have the chance to thrive, and to have the opportunity to have the life that they define for themselves," said Renee Moe, President and CEO of United Way of Dane County.

Since the day Whitehead connected with United Way, she hasn't slowed down. She started a clothing design business, got her own place to stay and in her free time she volunteers with the United Way.

"Thanks to the United Way, and their partner agencies, there is hope. And there is help out there. Just reach for it. It's there. They are here to help you," Whitehead encouraged.

If you need help, call 211 or visit the United Way of Dane County's website, HERE.

The United Way is in the middle of its Capital Campaign, raising money to continue making the community a better place. If you would like to give back, visit the donate section on the United Way of Dane County's website.

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Rebecca Ribley

Wake Up Wisconsin Anchor

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