We invite you to host Community Progress Council’s Poverty Simulation, a half-day event that brings the impact of poverty up-close and personal, and helps participants understand the community barriers that challenge lower-income individuals. Each week, individuals must decide … food or medicine, gas money or paying the heat bill? Together, we can identify ways that community leaders, organizations and elected officials can address those challenges.


The Poverty Simulation walks participants through everyday struggles that those in poverty experience. Community Progress Council has hosted Poverty Simulations for school faculty, businesses and other non-profit organizations as a way of helping their staffs understand the challenges of their clients, fellow employees and those in the community in overcoming the struggles of poverty.




Jody Shaffer, Executive Director, YWCA of Hanover


“Poverty. Homelessness. I’ve been awakened to the tragedy, hopelessness and utter shame that it exists in our community. I had the privilege of participating in the Community Progress Council’s Poverty Simulation event hosted at YWCA Hanover a few weeks ago. Not only was it educational and eye opening but also utterly sad. I learned how quickly a circumstance can propel a person and/or family into either or both.


The event succeeded in raising my awareness to these issues. More importantly it tugged deep on my soul to understand, sympathize and help those in need.
These folks are in desperate need and not trying to rip anyone off or get as much as they can from “the system”.
They’re struggling so badly.”








Poverty Simulations work best with approximately 40-80 individuals, divided into family units. Each participate is assigned a family role – ranging from a single mother, to a teenager, to a grandparent, etc. After an introduction to the exercise, these family members are then tasked with working through four weeks (15 minute intervals) of a person living in poverty. They are responsible for their spending, transportation, education, employment and receiving benefits through government agencies.


Also in the room are individuals who represent these agencies, businesses, schools, and more. These individuals can either be provided by the hosting organization or by Community Progress Council. Participants from hosting organizations benefit through family role playing as well as representing the agencies who work with the families. Each is a unique experience for participants.


The event concludes with feedback and discussion among the participants.


While the length of the exercise can vary, Community Progress Council suggests setting aside at least 3 hours for the event.




If you’re interested in learning more about hosting your own Poverty Simulation through Community Progress Council,

email Carolyn Lerew, Organizational Development Director, at clerew@yorkcpc.org or call (717) 846-4600, ext. 276.




The Community Action Poverty Simulation is owned and copyrighted by the Missouri Community Action Network.