United Way to host Purdue Extension poverty simulation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The United Way of Greater Lafayette and the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network will host a poverty simulation for community leaders, nonprofit boards and staff, and interested community members from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 14) at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds.

HomelessThe simulator, presented by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, teaches participants what life in poverty is really like.

“One out of every eight people in Indiana lives in poverty – that’s almost 800,000 individuals,” said Hannah Ritchie, Purdue Extension consumer and family sciences operations coordinator. “The simulator is not a game. It is a great opportunity for community leaders and the general public to see what life is really like for people with low incomes. It’s a very eye-opening experience and one we hope will inspire participants to get out in the community and work to solve the problem.”

Simulation participants will use a kit to role-play the lives of low-income families and try to budget their resources to provide basic necessities and shelter over the course of four 15-minute “weeks.” During the simulation, they will interact with mock human service agencies, grocers, pawn brokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers and more.

After the simulation, a facilitated discussion about the experience will allow the group to share insights with one another.

“The federal poverty level is $22,050 per year for two adults and two children. Indiana’s minimum wage is $15,080 annually,” Ritchie said. “There are so many people out there who have to just simply survive. We want to give participants a new understanding of what it means to live in poverty and a new perspective when working with the impoverished.”

Those interested in participating in the free poverty simulator are asked to register online by Monday (Oct. 12) at www.INRNWEST.blogspot.com

For more information about the Oct. 14 presentation of the poverty simulator, contact Jillian Miller with the United Way at 765-413-6049, jmiller@uw.lafayette.in.us. More information about the simulation itself is available by contacting Ritchie at 765-496-2489, hritchie@purdue.edu.

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