Between the thousands of San Franciscans without a place to live and the dozens of shelters meant to provide them housing lies a massive, many-armed social-services organism bound by complex rules and layers of bureaucracy. One wrong turn or a small procedural mistake can mean the difference between a warm bed for the night and sleeping on the street.
This Choose Your Own Adventure simulation is intended to replicate what happens after a person — in this case, a domestic violence survivor and mother of two — first loses their home.
The scenarios laid out here are personalized to a fictional (though all-too-common) situation, but they are based on BuzzFeed News reporting into every step of the city's emergency-shelter system. If you were to end up homeless in San Francisco tonight, chances are good your experience would look a lot like the simulation below.