Poverty Simulation: Missouri Ozarks Community Action


Promote Awareness

Increase Understanding



Currently, over 947,000 Missourians live in poverty every day.  Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid.  Many stereotypes abound about poverty, but are they truly accurate?

It is difficult for those of us who have enough to truly understand the situations that families living in poverty experience every day – the decisions they have to make, and the fears and frustrations they feel.  That is why we are inviting you to walk a mile in the shoes of those facing poverty by participating in the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS). 

The Poverty Simulation is an enlightening interactive experience that helps individuals begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. It moves people to think about the harsh realities of poverty and to talk about how communities can address the problem collectively. 

Most people living in poverty face multiple challenges every day. They often ask themselves: how will I pay for gas to get to work? Can I afford both medicine and food this month? How will I stretch my limited income to pay for rent and child care this month?  What will I do if someone gets sick or my car breaks down?

Often, poverty and hunger lead to increased emotional and financial stress, increased risk of illness, and poor school performance by children, poor productivity by working adults, and ultimately a cycle of crisis that can seem impossible to overcome.

The simulation provides participants with the opportunity to assume the role of a low-income family member living on a limited budget.  The experience is divided into four 15-minute sessions, each of which represents one week in which you must provide for your family and maintain your home.

As one participant commented, "This poverty simulation dramatically demonstrates how much time and energy many families have to give just to survive from day to day. It quickly dispels the myth "that people would do fine if they would only go out and get a job!"

For more information about hosting a Poverty Simulation, please contract Missouri Ozarks Community Action at 573-765-3183 or email us at communityservice@mocacaa.org.