Each year, US cities give thousands of homeless people one-way bus tickets out of town. An 18-month nationwide investigation by the Guardian reveals, for the first time, what really happens at the journey’s end.
Quinn Raber arrived at a San Francisco bus station lugging a canvas bag containing all of his belongings: jeans, socks, underwear, pajamas. It was 1pm on a typically overcast day in August.
An unassuming 27-year-old, Raber seemed worn down: his skin was sun-reddened, he was unshaven, and a hat was pulled over his ruffled blond hair. After showing the driver a one-way ticket purchased for him by the city of San Francisco, he climbed the steps of the Greyhound bus.