Cardboard City event raises awareness about homelessness in Manitowoc

MANITOWOC, Wi. (WBAY) - As the temperatures continue to drop, it's making a tough situation even worse for those who are homeless in the area. One Manitowoc event helps people gain a little perspective into the struggle of homelessness.

The cold conditions Saturday only help make the mock situation seem all too-real.

“Homeless people don’t have houses like everybody else’s and they don’t have heat or running water so they, especially in the winter, they’re freezing every night and they have to deal with what we do for one night for 365 days a year,” said Brayden Steinbecker, who participates in the event as a member of First Lutheran Church.

People at the annual Cardboard City event at first Presbyterian Church in Manitowoc create shelters to sleep in out of tents or cardboard, to experience what life is like without a shelter for one night.

“A lot of times people don’t realize that it is an issue here in this area,” said Hope House Executive Director Lillian Lamoreux. “They don’t necessarily know that it’s people that they’re working with, it’s they’re coworkers, it’s the kids at their kids’ school.”

The event helps participants realize, homelessness is a year-round struggle.

It also raises money for Habitat for Humanity, The Haven of Manitowoc County, and Hope House.

“I always wanted to give back to them because they were such a big help to me,” said John Kraemer.

Kraemer stayed at the Haven’s shelter for men a few years ago, and knows firsthand how programs like these can get people back on their feet.

“It provides everybody with a place to stay and rebuild themselves,” said Kraemer.

Building and staying in shelters for one night with friends and family may not be exactly what those without shelter go through.

But it certainly gives participants an idea of why supporting these organizations is important.

“For me that’s kind of the hope is recognizing that and how blessed we are, and then being able to give back to the community that aren’t as blessed as us,” said Lamoreux.

The event is held around the same time every year. Contact any of the organizations to learn how you can get involved. Their websites are linked below:

Haven of Manitowoc County
Hope House of Manitowoc County
Manitowoc County Habitat for Humanity