Program Overview

The poverty simulation addresses the challenges of living with limited resources and an abundance of stress. Role play or simulation is a powerful way to convey real world obstacles to securing food and shelter, while maintaining the family and negotiating support systems, agencies, and the real world.

The program, licensed through Missouri Community Action Network (MCAN), is designed for 40 to 88 participants, who will experience a month in poverty as four, 15-minute weeks. During that time, they must provide for their family, securing food and shelter. They will interact with community institutions and resource providers to do this. The simulation requires 3-4 hours.

Effectiveness of the Simulation

In general, people retain:

  • 20% of what they hear
  • 30% of what they see/read
  • 50% of what they hear/see/read
  • 70% of what they hear/see/read/discuss
  • 90% of what they hear/see/read/discuss/do – a simulation

Expected Outcomes

  • Better understanding of the generalizations made about people with low income.
  • Improved customer service for clients with low income.
  • Improved connections and coordination with staff in other agencies and partner organizations to lessen bureaucratic obstacles for clients.
  • Increased awareness about institutional obstacles for people with low income.
  • Improved ethics when making financial decisions in business.
  • Improved ethics when promoting products to people with low income (such as predatory financial services).

Training Resources

Are you volunteering to help put on a Poverty Simulation? Click here to access our Volunteer Staff Training Modules.