• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers. Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA. Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
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

    After open-heart surgery, Alaska babies try to lead ‘normal’ lives

    by Sierra Starks on Feb 22, 22:21

    Hearing their 3-year-old son splashing in the pool is a harmonious sound to Adriana Fischer and Damon Hampel. “The pool was really a lifesaver for him,” says Fischer. Malachi Hampel was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which simply means he’s missing the left side of his heart. “The left ventricle is the workhorse of […]

  • News

    Efforts to fill $15-million budget gap mean big cuts in the Anchorage School District

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 22, 20:12

    “We have trimmed any of the fat that was in our budget, but now we are cutting into bone.” Like each of her fellow board members, Anchorage School Board president Tam Agosti-Gisler voted on Tuesday to approve next year’s money-saving budget, which eliminates 123 full time jobs, including 99 teaching positions. “Fortunately, many of those […]

  • News

    Alaskans work out to end veteran suicide

    by John Thain on Feb 22, 19:15

    A special workout took place on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Wednesday in an effort to raise awareness for suicide and depression. On average, 22 of our nation’s veterans take their own lives every day, according to Mission 22. This workout, organized by 907 Crossfit, aims to get people together and put the issue out in the […]

  • Stunning space discovery: 7 Earth-size planets found orbiting dwarf star

    by William Harwood / CBS News on Feb 22, 19:00

    Astronomers have discovered seven roughly Earth-size planets very close to a cool dwarf star some 39 light-years from Earth, including three orbiting in the star’s habitable zone where liquid water, a key ingredient for life as it’s known on Earth, could be present, researchers announced Wednesday. The record-setting star system is the first to feature […]

  • Weather

    Alaska Weather Forecast – Feb. 22, 2017

    by KTVA Weather on Feb 22, 18:51

    A blizzard warning was issued for St. Lawrence Island, and a winter storm watch is in effect tonight for parts of western Alaska, according to meteorologist Carlos Faura. Follow KTVA 11’s Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Got a weather-related photo or story idea? Email the team at weather@ktva.com.

  • Lifestyle

    Food stamps and sweets: Should they be kept apart?

    by Aimee Picchi/CBS News on Feb 22, 18:32

    The food-stamp program is credited with helping 44 million people in America afford groceries, providing what supporters say is a needed benefit for some of the country’s most vulnerable. Yet critics of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) say the anti-hunger program is easily abused, and the latest questions about the program are stirring a […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: Engineering in Alaska

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 22, 16:11

    Alaska is home to dozens of engineering specialties, ranging from civil to mechanical, aerospace to ship building. If there’s a big infrastructure project, chances are there was an engineer involved. Engineers also make a broad salary, averaging anywhere from $46 to $73 per hour, according to Cassie Ostrander, a spokesperson for the Alaska Process Industry […]

  • Lifestyle

    Public asked to help count Anchorage moose

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 22, 15:54

    Biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game need your help to count moose around the Anchorage Bowl. They haven’t been able to do their annual aerial surveys for the past few years because of bad weather and low snow. For the first time, the department is asking for the public’s help to track moose […]