ASCE Alaska Section

Helping The Homeless

The McKinnell House is a Salvation Army homeless shelter located in Anchorage, Alaska. Its goal is to help homeless families in Anchorage thrive by providing lodging, meals, staff support and more. It is the only shelter facility in Anchorage for families and single parenting fathers experiencing homelessness.

While the shelter is able to provide many things, it does not have an adequate play area for the children living here. When President of the ASCE Alaska Branch, Doug Simon, saw a very clear need for the Section engineers to help out. Taking the lead, Simon made a presentation at a Branch meeting and attracted interest from other members, which led to a CECorps project with McKinnell House.

The Salvation Army requested the design of an outdoor family space where children could play safely and families at McKinnell House could come together to enjoy fellowship and build a support community. The CECorps project team developed and provided a set of plans, including site grading and drainage plans, playground design, and equipment layout; as well as a cost estimate for the playground, fencing, topsoil and seed, and associated earthwork. The project also included re-establishing an existing swale that will collect stormwater runoff from the new playground area and direct it to the on-site stormwater system.

Armed with these deliverables the Salvation Army is actively pursuing funding.