Each of us are only one turn away from homelessness. Welcome to #HowIGotHere, the interactive experience that helps you understand homelessness on a personal level. Which path will you take?

When meeting the Bay Area Rescue Mission, our team resonated with the stark reality that the organization faces when working with its community. In particular,

  • There are 35,000 people experiencing homelessness in the city of Oakland alone
  • On average, most people claim homelessness by the age of 30 (which is within the very age range that we wish to reach)
  • 60% of the Bay Area’s homeless population are women and children
  • 90% of women will get sexually assaulted within the first 5 days of living on the street

Why We Chose an Interactive, Social Campaign

One main challenge BARM faces is a lack of involvement from Millennial and Gen Z populations. The typical BARM donor is in their 60s - this is a huge problem for a 100% donation-based organization. If the BARM is to continue long-term, they will need more donations from younger generations.

As the #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #MarchForOurLives campaigns have demonstrated, Gen Z and Millennials are not calloused to the idea of supporting a cause. However, to inspire these populations to act, you'll need to reach them where they are - and that's on social media.

How Millennials & Gen Z Use Social Media

  • People between the ages of 8-29 are heavy social media users, with 89% use social networking regularly
  • 87% of millennials have shown desire to make purchases that have an environmental or social benefit
  • Interactive content generates conversations 70% of the time'

Thus, we decided that an interactive, social campaign that generated empathy among its users would be the best avenue to reach new donors for the Bay Area Rescue Mission.

What The Campaign Does

How I Got Here is an interactive, social experience that's modeled after choose-your-own-adventure games.

The goal is to inspire empathy and urgency among Millennial and Gen Z populations, so they can join the fight to end homelessness. This project was inspired by and built for the Bay Area Resue Mission (BARM), a nonprofit that has provided food, clothing, and housing for its guests since 1965.

While the prototype was built with BARM in mind, this interactive experience can be utilized by any nonprofit that wants to spread awareness about homelessness and increase donations for their cause.

How We Built It

We built this user flow using Adobe XD and the illustrations were created with Procreate.

For our localhost web application, we built the back-end using JavaScript, Node.js, Express, and Handlebars, and HTML and CSS for the front-end.

Challenges We Ran Into

Some of the biggest challenges were finding the right balance between producing a high quality product in a short amount of time. On a more personal level, one team member was in a different time zone, so agreeing on times to meet and separating the work was also occasionally challenging.

Accomplishments That We're Proud Of

Throughout our experience, our team worked very well together. We were able to accomplish completing the video and deciding on the project, without many hiccups.

What We Learned

One important lesson that we learned is to challenge our assumptions about people who are homeless.

What's Next #HowIGotHere

Next, we will continue flushing out the build-out of the prototype and add more stories.

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