• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 15s

‘Cardboard City’ fundraiser raises awareness for Mat-Su homeless

By Kate McPherson 11:13 AM July 19, 2014

An exact number of how many people are homeless in Alaska is difficult to calculate. The Mat-Su Borough School District estimates up to 800 children face homelessness. And on any given night, there are 60 to 80 families in the Valley struggling to find shelter, according to Family Promise.

The Wasilla-based organization’s yearly fundraiser – ‘Cardboard City’ – was held Friday night at the Alaska State Fairgrounds. Dozens of participants gathered pledges and built cardboard structures, with the larger goal of raising awareness for the Mat-Su homeless population.

The shelters constructed this year ranged from simple to complex.

“Winging it,” said Tommy. “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing,” said the 18-year-old as he wrestled with duct tape and scissors.

But other participants came prepared. “My dad is a civil engineer,” said Becca Coleman, who brought measurements and a mini model of her planned shelter. “Make it structurally sound,” she said.

It might sound like a fun night of camping, but the significance isn’t lost on Coleman.

“You just never know what circumstance, be it an injury or the economy laying people off, you just never no what moment is going to turn your world upside down,” she said.

The money raised by ‘Cardboard City’ on Friday will help parents who’ve fallen on hard times.

“Over night it happened to us and we had nothing,” said mom of three Katie Bryan, whose husband Devin lost his job in January 2013. “So we were on welfare and were able to stay for a little bit but once the lease was up we had to leave.”

Katie was pregnant with her third child, Leeray.

“We were running out of help, we were in a tight situation,” said Devin Bryan.

With nowhere else to go, the couple turned to Family Promise, who provided the couple and their three children, including the newborn, with private accommodation. The Bryan’s also had help buying diapers, clothing and gas. It was enough for them to get back on their feet, and within two months the family of five were out of the shelter and Devin found work.

“They helped us get car insurance so that we could get a vehicle to go back and forth to work,” said Devin.

“We are back in our own place again, my husband has a good job and I couldn’t ask for anything else,” said Katie.

While Katie and Devin played with their three sons around Cardboard City, Will Sandidge, a junior at Colony High, was part of a group of students that broadcasted live from a ‘studio’ made out of cardboard. Their show – ‘Teen Talk’ – was heard over 89.5FM.

The sleep-out fundraiser ended at 8am Saturday morning.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Parnell sheds new light on Alaska National Guard firings

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 21, 18:32

    The day after he fired three Alaska National Guard leaders, Alaska’s governor says more changes are coming. Gov. Sean Parnell says Guard members have expressed frustration over the timeline of the recent adjustments, that have all stemmed from a scathing report released in September. The report, conducted by the Office of Complex Investigations, showed that Guard […]

  • Crime

    Palins describe brawl in police recordings

    by CNN on Oct 21, 18:01

      Washington (CNN) – Bristol Palin describes being dragged through the grass and called a series of obscenities during a massive brawl last month in recordings of Anchorage police interviews that CNN obtained through a public records request. She said she jumped into a fight after “some old lady” pushed her sister, Willow Palin, because “oh […]

  • News

    Orphaned cubs find a home at Fortress of the Bear

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 21, 17:40

    One look at Sitka’s Fortress of the Bear and it’s easy to see how the rescue facility got its name. Brown bears roam around the two large tanks leftover from Sitka’s pulp mill that closed in 1993. “We’ve managed to upcycle these strong, industrial spaces into some really impressive bear habitats,” said bear manager Claire Turner. […]

  • News

    Mat-Su School District temporarily bans military recruitment

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 15:22

    The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District has temporarily banned military recruitment from the district’s schools. This announcement follows the Anchorage School District’s ban of all military recruiters after the recent reports of alleged misconduct by Alaska Army National Guard recruiters on school campuses. In a release from the Mat-Su Borough School District, Dr. Deena M. Paramo publicized the change […]

  • Lifestyle

    Anchorage conducts survey on homelessness

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 14:23

    Anchorage residents can voice their opinion in a survey about homelessness in the municipality. The results of the survey will be used as an informational source as officials work toward developing a five-year plan on how to end homelessness, according to a press release. Groups involved in the plan are the Anchorage Department of Health and […]

  • Crime

    Police seek armed robbery suspect, stolen truck

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 13:14

    Police say they are looking for a suspect and a stolen truck after an early morning robbery in South Anchorage. The victim told police she was trying to find a parking spot at an apartment complex on the 1700 block of Lore Road around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when she was approached by a handgun-wielding woman, […]

  • On-Air

    ‘Edge of Alaska’ star discusses life in McCarthy

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 11:34

    Located at the foothills of the Wrangell Mountains, 65 miles west of the Yukon Territory border is a place once known as a sinful getaway for the workers of nearby Kennecott. McCarthy, according to the 2010 census, has only 28 yearly residents. This remote location is the setting of a new reality show hitting airwaves on […]

  • Crime

    Man fleeing police arrested outside Juneau school after hit-and-run

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 11:10

    A driver trying to dodge police was arrested after a crash near a Juneau high school Monday. Jose Angel Munoz, 42, was arrested after a collision with an 82-year-old driver, according to a press release from the Juneau Police Department. He was wanted on a warrant issued Sept. 26 for drug and felony driving-under-the-influence charges. […]