Family PASS Poverty Simulation, March 2020

Event Detail

The Family PASS sponsored Poverty Simulation on March 12, 2020 was a tremendous success, as participants assumed roles emulating different families and individuals in challenging poverty scenarios. The purpose of this simulation was to broaden understanding and awareness of the obstacles people living in poverty face every day.


We heard and saw the mounting frustrations of both the “poor” and those in authority experienced over either losing metro passes, being denied benefits, being shortchanged, or, as employers, having to fire people knowing that their tardiness wasn’t their fault. Time after time, mini dramas played out as one women, with little choice, left her child alone to get much needed food for her family. The police came and took the child.
Eighteen participants played roles as employers, mortgage bankers, policemen, case managers, interfaith workers, utility companies, teachers, childcare workers and pawn brokers to simulate the paperwork hurdles and other basic requirements and other everyday obstacles in the life of those living in poverty.


Sixty-five people participated in the Poverty Simulation despite quickly developing restrictions on public gatherings and we are grateful to them for that leap of faith! Among those participating were Vienna Councilwoman, Linda Colbert, and representatives from Kaiser-Permanente and Board of Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s office. The Vienna Business Association’s Peggy James played the role of “employer” and Bards Alley’s Jen Morrow was a “case manager.”