Communtiy Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc.

A Community Action Agency
providing low-income people with
emergency and crisis intervention services.

Community Action Partnership
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CAASTLC Poverty Simulation

Understanding the day-to-day reality of poverty is important for everyone involved in fighting poverty - from policymakers to service providers. MISSOURI'S COMMUNITY ACTION POVERTY SIMULATION (CAPS) is a unique tool that helps people begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress.

During a simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, including single parents, people with disabilities, and senior citizens on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide for food, shelter and other basic necessities during four 15-minute "weeks". Families interact with community resources.

Although it uses "play" money, fictional scenarios and time limits, CAPS is not a game. It's a simulation that enables participants to view poverty from different angles and then to discuss the potential for change within local communities. It's designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families and to create a broader awareness among policymakers and community leaders.

CAPS is a copyrighted learning tool made available by the Missouri Association for Community Action ("MACA") after purchasing the rights from the ROWELL welfare reform organization. CAASTLC has purchased a CAPS kit from MACA for the purpose of coordinating a poverty simulation for any interested group in the St. Louis County community. 

A simulation requires between 40 and 86 participants, approximately 20 resource people and space of at least 3,000 square feet and takes 2 ½ to 3 hours to complete.

Who might participate in your poverty simulation? Local human service agency personnel; church staff, volunteers and clergy; school faculty and staff; high school and college students; community leaders and volunteers; government officials and policymakers, employers; law enforcement officials; family practice residency program physicians and many others.

If your organization is interested in having CAASTLC conduct a poverty simulation, please contact us at (314) 863-0015, ext. # 431.

Click here to view our Poverty Simulation Brochure
(Above link require Adobe Acrobat)