Live United, Give United Day: Moorhead teen shares her struggle with homelessness

Live United, Give United
Live United, Give United(none)
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 3:21 PM CST
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MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - It’s the season of giving and a time to recognize that many of our neighbors in Cass and Clay counties are struggling. If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference, today is the day.

It’s ‘Live United Give United’ day, and that means any donation to the United Way is matched.

The United Way helps teens like Kristen, who, at 18-years-old, found herself homeless.

“This year was a really tough year for me, and I really wanted to end my life. I didn’t want to live my life anymore,” Kristen says.

She was raised by her grandmother on a reservation in Montana. Her parents were alcoholics. When her mom died, she moved to Moorhead to start over, but it wasn’t easy.

“I moved in and out of places and hotels,” she says.

“Kristen had been in a low place. How could you not be?” says Amy Riccio, the Homeless Liaison for Moorhead Public Schools.

Because of donors to the United Way, Kristen got connected to resources and received food to eat, clothes to wear, and most importantly, hope for her future.

“We started with the basics,” Amy says, “Food stamps, SNAP referral, helped her get some medical assistance and check ups. She needed glasses.”

Thomas Hill, the United Way’s VP of Community Impact, adds: “Providing services on site is truly a game changer because we know when they’re supported throughout school, they have a greater probability of graduating.”

That’s exactly what Kristen did. She worked hard, graduated and plans to go to cosmetology school. But Kristen’s story isn’t unique. Right here in our community, an estimated 1,000 people are homeless every night. 20% of them are children.

Money raised today goes to provide these housing stability specialists who work to connect children and families to resources-- keeping hard situations from becoming catastrophic.

Amy says, “Kristen had a lot of barriers in her life and just seeing her tenacity like ‘nope, I’m still going’, is great to see.”

$26 matched gets one family 2 nights of stable housing.

$150 matched gets one adult job training and career coaching.

$360 matched can prevent an entire family from becoming homeless.

Click here to donate.