The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) educates everyone, from policy makers to local community leaders, about the strategies of a low-income family trying to survive day to day with little money and lots of stress.
It is a simulation, not a game.
The object is to sensitize participants to the hardships faced by real people. In post-experience surveys, over 85% of participants reported an above average or high level of increased knowledge about the financial pressures faced by low-income families in meeting basic needs.
How the Simulation Works
Participants assume the roles of families facing poverty. Some families are newly unemployed, some are recently deserted by the “breadwinner,” some are homeless, and others are recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). Still others are senior citizens receiving Disability or Retirement or grandparents raising their grandchildren. The task of the families is to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.”
The simulation is conducted in a large room with the families seated in groups in the center. Surrounding them are tables representing community resources and services for the families, including a bank, super center, Community Action Agency, employer, utility company, pawn broker, a grocery and more.
Volunteers (trained for 30 minutes before the simulation) staff the resource tables.
The experience includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period at the end of the simulation.
*CAPS is a copyrighted tool made available by the Missouri Association for Community Action to organizations that want to promote a greater understanding of poverty.
Your group must provide the following to host a Poverty Simulation:
Large room (3,000 square feet)
152 chairs and 14 tables
1 hour to set-up + 3 hours for the simulation
20-22 Volunteers for resource tables
40 (minimum) – 80 participants
ECKAN does not schedule Poverty Simulations in November or December.
Click here to contact us about scheduling a Poverty Simulation