MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans says their fastest-growing segment of homeless veterans that need their help is women.

Malcalisha Jefferson is one of them. After serving her country she moved to Minnesota and ended up with no place to stay. That’s when MACV stepped in to find the single mother of four a home for the holidays.

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Distance learning is a lot easier for the Jefferson family, and 14-year-old Jazreel, 12-year-old Mariah and 8-year-old Isaac can now work with smiles on their faces. Thanks to MACV, they’re safe and more importantly have a place to call home.

Their mother is an Army veteran. She served 12 years with two deployments to war zones — Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2010. She moved to Minnesota after her time in the service to be closer to family, but things didn’t go as planned.

“I was supposed to stay with my dad but then my dad ended up losing his place because the landlord sold it,” Jefferson said.

She instantly called the VA for help and they connected her to MACV. She says her family did not have to sleep outside because of the quick action of MACV.

“Swooped me up, helped us, fed us, everything,” she said. “They put us in a hotel for about … we stayed in there almost two months.”

Two months in a hotel room with four children — who were doing virtual schooling online.

“So everybody in the same room and everybody talking to their teachers and classmates. It was it was pretty hectic,” she said.

The three school-aged kids watched their 1-year-old brother Aries, so their mother could search for work.

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“We had to find places where to put our work and stuff, and like everything was like everywhere, and we had to watch our little brother at the same time of doing our work,” Mariah said.

Malcalisha Jefferson knew she had to press forward for her children’s sake. She says MACV was with her every step of the way.

“They check on me weekly to see how the process is going, if I need any of their help to do anything, or talk to anybody for me to expedite the process,” she said.

MACV’s community partners helped build a four-bedroom home in North St. Paul. It was completed in time to serve the needs of this young family, fully furnished and with plenty of space to study and just be a family.

“MACV, they helped me when me and my kids didn’t have anything. We would have been on the street. I am a single parent with four kids. They helped me with everything above and beyond,” Jefferson said.

The children say they’ve noticed a change in their mother and they all feel a sense of relief.

“I’m happy that we have a place to stay and that she don’t have that much pressure on her no more, that we can actually stay in this house and that she can actually lay her head down and just focus on just us instead of worrying about everything else, and a place to stay,” Mariah said.

This family is more than grateful to be home for the holidays.

“We could be out there in the cold struggling and all that stuff, but they housed me and my children, and you know we’ll be able to have a Christmas in our own home,” Jefferson said.

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You can still help homeless veterans by donating to MAC-V. Don’t forget that donations this week will be matched up to $100,000. Text MAC-V ORG to 44321 to donate or give online by clicking here.

Reg Chapman