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Poverty Simulation

What is a Poverty Simulation? 

In a poverty simulation, participants take on the role of a person living in a low-income community. They are given a packet that tells them their family structure and circumstances and the family’s financial situation. Participants must get through four 15-minute “weeks” and do what families everywhere do: Go to work if they have a job, get any kids to school, feed the family, pay the bills, and keep the family safe. Challenges arise over the “month,” to which families must respond. After the “month” is over, participants engage in an extensive debriefing discussion about what they learned.

Why Participate? 

Promote Poverty Awareness

During the simulation, role-play a month in poverty and experience the challenging decisions millions of famlies face each day.

Increase Understanding

After the simulation, you will unpack your learning and brainstorm community change.

Inspire Local Change

Together, you can be a voice to end poverty in your family, friends, and community.

Transform Perspectives

The goal of a poverty simulation is to shift the paradigm about poverty away from being seen as a personal failure and towards understanding of the structural and systemic barriers causing poverty.

Who Should Participate?

Anyone interested in increasing empathy for their neighbors, friends, and family members.

What Past Participants Say

"I had little time to do anything other than go to work, run errands and pay the bills; I barely saw my children or husband and never had the chance to relax."
"I think that many people in poverty would feel like they were on a treadmill, not really getting anywhere."
"This Poverty Simulation experience helped me to realize the frustrations that people living in poverty may have on a daily basis. This simulation is the perfect hands-on activity to tie together all the information that was talked about and help students to realize the major impact this has on people’s lives daily."
“The poverty simulation improved my awareness of financial hardships, economic difficulties, government assistance programs, and community resources.”

Sign Up Today!

ICAA facilitates Poverty Simulation Experiences using the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) tool for groups across the state. For more information or to plan a Poverty Simulation in your community, please email Katherine Harrington to get the conversation started.