“Help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical, low-income family trying to survive month to month. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income people.”
In the simulation, 44 to 88 people assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing poverty. The simulation is conducted in a large room with the “families” seated in groups in the center. Around the perimeter are tables representing community resources and services for the families. Volunteers, preferably persons who have faced or are facing poverty, are recruited to staff the resource tables.
The experience lasts from two and a half to three hours. It includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in which participants and volunteer staffers share their feelings and experiences and talk about what they have learned about the lives of people in poverty” (Missouri Association for Community Action training manual).