ACT Rochester invited community to participate in a poverty simulation

By on March 18, 2019

Poverty simulation - Karen

ACT Rochester invited people in the community to participate in a poverty simulation facilitated by Coordinated Care Services, Inc. (CCSI) on Saturday, February 16, specially designed for Greater Rochester’s media and communications professionals. This highly interactive and powerful exercise was intended to provide an opportunity to explore the complex issues beyond the written word or sound bite; to immerse themselves in an interactive experience to gain a deeper understanding of poverty in our community.

Karen Fien had the opportunity to participate in the simulation on behalf of Westside News. The experience really made her appreciate her family, her community and the opportunities she has been afforded. “The experience was overwhelming to me,” she said. “I can’t imagine if my family had ever lost their home and had to live in a shelter, in a car or on the streets, with nowhere to turn, no support system.”

What is a Poverty Simulation? The simulation is based on what a typical low-income family encounters in its attempt to survive from month to month. Each participant assumes the role of a family member as a way to better understand the day-to-day challenges faced by those living in poverty and how current biases, systems, policies, and practices create barriers. This experience provides additional lenses for sharing stories.

During the course of the simulation, Fien said her “family” was so focused on trying to get enough money to pay their bills, arranging transportation to various services that may or may not be open, and filling out endless paperwork, that they never found time to eat during the simulated month. A job loss, car break-down, home loss or addiction would be difficult for any family, but adding those stresses to a family already struggling with poverty makes the situation seem impossible. “We know that people are living like this. I believe we need to show compassion and kindness to all people, regardless of their circumstance,” Fien said.
Provided photos
simulation with baby
simulation circle