Crisis is using VR to teach young people about homelessness

The UK’s national homelessness charity Crisis is using virtual reality (VR) to teach young people about homelessness. 

Destination Home is available through a free mobile app and can be played in either 2D or as an immersive VR experience, by placing a smartphone in a cardboard headset distributed by Crisis. 

Released ahead of World Homelessness Day on October 10th, the game has been created in partnership with immersive learning platform Musemio. Aimed at 7-12 year olds, it helps young people explore the causes of homelessness, how it can be ended and what they can do with Crisis to help people. 

Players are guided through different challenges by a friendly robot mascot called Mio and meet different characters who have been supported to leave homelessness behind for good. 

Characters include 24-year-old Alex who was forced into sleeping on people’s sofas, then living on the street after losing her job. Players also meet Jeff, who was made homeless after leaving the army and Bonnie who had to leave the home she shared with her boyfriend after feeling unsafe.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are continually inspired by the passion our young supporters have for ending homelessness. Whether it is completing a fundraiser, or raising awareness at school, so many get involved after seeing someone without a safe place to live. They know it isn’t right and everyone should have a home.

“We are really excited to have worked with Musemio to produce Destination Home and engage more young people on this important issue. By using VR to immerse themselves in the characters’ lives, players not only see how unfair homelessness is but how avoidable it is too.

“The financial impact of the pandemic has put thousands of people at risk of being forced from their homes, so we need more people than ever to learn about homelessness and take action to end it for good.”

Olga Kravchenko, CEO of Musemio, said: “Young people have grown up with technology at their fingertips. Immersive mobile games easily capture their imagination and help them to understand the world we live in today. Our partnership with Crisis has enabled us to broaden the dialogue around the complex topic of homelessness through play to help children develop empathy.” 

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Destination Home will be freely available to download through the Musemio app on iOS and Android mobile devices from Tuesday 5th October. It is not yet currently available on desktop/laptop.

The game can be played in 2D or VR. Cardboard headsets are required to play in VR and are available on request from Crisis. 

The game takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes depending on how quickly you can pass all the challenges.