Poverty Simulations

Due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and the need to protect the health of our community, Crisis Assistance Ministry has suspended facilitation of the Poverty Simulation.   


For suggestions on alternate poverty awareness and education activities, please contact us at [email protected]. 

What is a Poverty Simulation?

A Poverty Simulation is a facilitated two-hour immersive experience designed to create awareness among participants of life at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Participants are assigned to “families” who do their best to survive week-to-week over a simulated one-month period. The simulation presents participants with real-life scenarios and challenges faced by people living in poverty.  The exercise is immediately followed by a group debrief, during which participants reflect on the experience, discuss insights, and consider next steps.

Participants often tell us they will never forget the overwhelming stress and hopelessness they felt as they walked in the shoes of someone facing poverty.

Since 2008, Crisis Assistance Ministry has been the local lead facilitator of the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), which is owned by the Missouri Community Action Network.  In the last four years alone, nearly 7,000 local citizens, including community leaders, business professionals, and members of faith communities, have experienced a simulation sponsored by our agency.  They often leave shaken by the role play, telling us they will never forget the overwhelming stress and hopelessness they felt as they walked in the shoes of someone facing poverty.

The ultimate goal of the Poverty Simulation is to transform these insights into action.  Executives have changed policies at their place of work and teachers have pledged to change how they treat children at school as a result of their participation.

If you are interested in hosting a poverty simulation, please contact [email protected].

If you are interested in learning more about the Missouri Community Action Network or purchasing a CAPS kit license, please visit communityaction.org or povertysimulation.net.

Participant Testimonials

Poverty Simulation F.A.Q.

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