Field Notes: The Homelessness System Simulation Game

written by Anna Blasco
June 26, 2013

Of all the great training tools we use at the Center for Capacity Building, the Homeless System Simulation Game is my favorite. Up until now, you would have only come across the game if your community held a Performance Improvement Clinics. Today we are making all of the game materials available for download, so you can play the game in your community.

The Homeless System Simulation Game helps players understand how the homeless assistance system and its many different programs work. It is very simplified, but it was designed using actual data for outcomes of programs in different communities across the country. The game encourages thought and discussion regarding how your community addresses homelessness, and the impact of decisions and strategies to reduce homelessness and meet HEARTH Act objectives.

All the game materials can be found here, including assembly, player, and facilitator instructions. You’ll need at least seven plays to play the simulation. We recommend 90 minutes to two hours for the entire session, with a minimum of 70 minutes for the exercise and at least 20 minutes to debrief. The game comes with instructions, but we have also put together this brief instructional video — embedded below — that gives a quick rundown of how to play the game.

Try out the game at your next training, staff retreat, Continuum of Care meeting, or youth group, and let us know how it goes!