When relationship difficulties and addiction drove MaDonna’s family apart and into homelessness, she felt heartbroken, hopeless and alone. She came to the Mission seeking a pathway out of her situation, and here she found the resources she needed to bring hope back to her family.

What’s the Point?

A mother’s love is like no other. Whether celebrating small victories, like a child taking their first steps or being there to wrap them in a hug when they are sad, mothers would do just about anything for their kids.

MaDonna is no different and loves each of her children with all her heart. When a series of relationship difficulties intermixed with addiction caused MaDonna to lose those who meant the most to her—her children—she was heartbroken.

On a night in February 2019, MaDonna let her son spend the night with his father, not knowing that he would take him the next day. She did all she could do to get him back, but with no success. Things spiraled quickly after that.

“I lost everything. I lost my apartment. I lost my car—I crashed it. I got in with a bad crowd really quick,” she remembered. “I went from never using drugs since I was like 17 years old . . . and by May, I was addicted to drugs.”

All MaDonna could think was, what’s the point?

“Nothing looked like it was ever going to get better,” she said. “It used to be my sob story that I went into right before I got high.”

MaDonna spent the next couple of years struggling with addiction and living on the streets most of the time. That was her reality when she found out she was pregnant with her daughter MaDelynn.

“That’s when I realized that I had to decide whether I was just going to let my story be that I didn’t have my kids, the world was against me and nothing worked out,” she said, “or if I was going to admit that sometimes things don’t work out but the choice is what are you going to do next? You’re still here. You’re still breathing. Today’s a new day. What are you going to do now?”

What Are You Going to Do Now?

MaDonna set out to change both her perspective and her circumstances. She worked hard to get sober and bounced between hotels and different programs around Denver, seeking any support she could get.

When she found Denver Rescue Mission, MaDonna had started taking online classes and was pregnant with her son Elliott. Shortly after they joined the STAR Transitional Program, the Mission’s transitional program at The Crossing, MaDonna began working and things started looking up.

“The really nice thing about being here is that when I get home at night, I know that we’re safe. I know that if we’re hungry we can eat food and I know that I can wash all my laundry for free,” she said. “Our room is comfortable, and the affordable [program fees] have been the most helpful thing.”

With two young children to support and having her family’s most basic needs met, MaDonna has also grown through the onsite, life-changing spiritual and emotional support. She has taken classes on anger management, relationships and budgeting, learning life-long skills. But most of all, she has found self-worth again.

“When you realize what you’re doing is wrong and you have to turn around and face it all, the great thing about knowing that God loves you is that you don’t have to face it alone,” she said. “You don’t have to face fault, guilt and that forever shame of not being able to move forward. I think that’s a great part of this program here is that it allows people to revalue themselves in something that’s permanent and something that’s real.”

“I think that Denver Rescue Mission reminds people that God loves them. People who have literally lost all of the hope that they had.”

– MaDonna

As MaDonna continues the program, she is saving as much money as she can as she works to get into housing. Having a drug record makes it very difficult for many people like MaDonna to qualify for housing. It is a major barrier and now that MaDonna is making more money in her job, she is close to being ineligible for other programs and benefits as well.

“I’m making like 21 dollars an hour, I’m working more than full time, I’m getting overtime every week, and I still am struggling to find housing,” she said. “There are a lot of people in between who, maybe their income is high enough that they are having to pay for their own health insurance and their own daycare, but that middle ground is really difficult to navigate through.”

For single mothers like MaDonna, there are many extra costs that come into play when it comes to raising children. “I have two babies and I drive them 15 miles to go to daycare and then I have to drive 15 miles back to work,” she said. “So I’m working right now but if any one of those things falls apart—the daycare, the transportation—and suddenly I’m not working and then I’m right back where I started.”

As MaDonna navigates the obstacles that come with parenting and the housing process, she is grateful to the Mission for being an extra support. While at The Crossing she was able to obtain her associate degree in psychology, with which she hopes to help other families so they don’t have to experience the things she went through.

“You can’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to,” she said. “Everybody deserves to have a warm meal and somebody who cares.”

Housing Barriers for Families

Lack of Affordable Housing

Only 20%

of those experiencing homelessness would fill all of the currently available, affordable housing.

An infographic showing a full house and several people icons, with only 20% of the people icons filled in with color, representing the 20% of people experiencing homelessness it would take to fill all of the currently available, affordable housing.

Income Isn’t Enough

hours per week

To afford $1,856 fair market rent at $17.29 minimum wage.

HALF of all Colorado renters are cost-burdened.*

COVID Benefits Expired & Inflation







United States


Childcare Expense


An arrow representing the range of childcare expenses.

per month**



An arrow representing the range of childcare expenses.


per month**

Even for those who can afford this, there are not always openings in daycare centers, which may not allow parents/guardians to work.


  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness 2022 conference
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition: 2022 Out of Reach
  • HUD User: FY 2023 Fair Market Rent Documentation System
  • City and County of Denver: Denver’s Minimum Wage
  • Denver Post: Meet the people being priced out of Denver as surging housing costs outpace wage growth
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: January 2022 Consumer Price Index
  • Brightwheel: 2023 Cost Guide for Denver Daycares and Preschools

*All numbers reflect affording a two-bedroom in Denver County in 2023 without spending more than 30 percent of income.

**The range of costs across age groups for full-time, full-day care in Denver.

Thank You for Changing Lives

Thank you for showing MaDonna, MaDelynn and Elliott that they are not alone. Give today to extend a helping hand to even more families!

Download Full Newsletter

  • A Family’s Path to Hope
  • The Mission in My Words: Vrnda Dasi Noel
  • Letter from Our CEO
  • Celebrating Dads: Happy Father’s Day