What is the OACAA Poverty Simulation?

Lorie McClain, Program Specialist

The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies’ (OACAA) Poverty Simulation is a walk in another person’s shoes. It’s about sharing experiences and making a connection to the conditions of those in poverty. Give yourself one time in this experience of poverty and it can lead you to a new understanding and renewed dedication to fighting against the ties that bind people to poverty.

During the 2-hour simulation, participants role play one month in the life of a low-income family and aim to provide their family’s most basic needs which include food, clothing, and shelter, while overcoming financial limitations such as unemployment, health issues, housing challenges, food insecurities and other obstacles. Family units interact with resources available in the mock community including banks, grocery stores, community action agencies, Job and Family Services, pawnshops, utilities, employers and more. The simulation occurs over four 15-minute “weeks” and mirrors life below or near the poverty line.
For 46.5 million people in the United States, poverty is not a simulation or game. OACAA’s poverty simulation illustrates the realities of poverty and emphasizes the awareness of policies in your community which hinder individuals from becoming self-sufficient. OACAA hopes this simulation will spark in the participants their desire to volunteer, fund, and initiate innovative ideas that will alleviate poverty and empower low-income families in their communities.
If your agency would like to be equipped to effect change in your area or organization by taking part in an OACAA’s Community Action Poverty Simulation please contact Josh Summer at josh@oacaa.orgto check for availability. This simulation requires a large meeting space, 17 volunteers for resources that are available in the “mock community” and can be held with as few as 40 participants and as many as 148. The session includes a forum at which participants can express any misunderstandings they have/had about what it means to live in poverty and reflect on what they have learned.

Lorie is a certified trainer in the Prep® Within My Reach curriculum, and Love’s Cradle® curriculum, Family Development Specialist and Family Development Specialist Trainer, as well as a certified Personal Financial Teacher. She is directly responsible for managing all of OACAA’s Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) and other funded programs.