Hundreds of cardboard shelters occupied the Independence Stadium turf to raise awareness for homelessness in Shreveport-Bossier.

Sleepout 4 Independence is the first event Providence House has put together.  Executive Director Simone Hennessee told KEEL News the goal of the event is to target a different demographic.

Dennis Foley

"To raise awareness, to raise money for the homeless families, but equally is important is to engage these young people in the actual experience even though it is not as true as actually on the street," stated Hennessee.  "They are going to be the solution to the issues of homelessness in the future, we hope to plant a philanthropic seed of leadership, time, talent and engage them."

About 350 groups registered for the event, designing a wide variety of cardboard shelters to sleep in for one night.  Structures ranged from a Duck Dynasty-inspired duck blind, an economic shelter designed by Louisiana Tech engineering students, to a complete miniature home with cardboard furniture, pets, and accessories.

Dennis Foley

While creativity for the event was impressive, Sleepout 4 Independence aims to bring awareness to an issue that affects thousands of Shreveport residents.

"We served close to 300," Hennessee explained to KEEL News, "but we turned away 1000 families because we didn't have the financial resources to serve them."

The event will help raise those financial resources to help homeless families get back on their feet and prevent a situation like homelessness from ever happening again.

Dennis Foley

"The prevention part of that is just people are not able to make enough money to support themselves," said Hennessee.  "For us, education is the key piece because if you can educate someone with the right skill set to make a living wage, then all these other issues like lack of affordable child care, rental property and transportation are all solved."

Groups were awarded trophies designed by Moonbot Studios for categories like best design and most money raised.

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