Steinbruck Center at Luther Place

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Poverty Simulation

The Steinbruck Center at Luther Place utilizes a tool developed by the Missouri Association for Community Action called the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS).

During a simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self sufficiency on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities during the simulation while interacting with various community resources staffed by low-income volunteers. One of the largest stressors on families is maintaining their housing.

Poverty Simulations require a two hour time block and a minimum of 35 participants. The simulation is best suited for participants high school aged and up.

Participant outcomes:

Participants will display an increased understanding of the financial pressures faced by low income families in meeting basic needs, the emotional stresses and frustrations created by having limited resources, and the interconnected nature of education, transportation, employment, healthcare, banking, and political systems and the pressures they place on low income families.

If you are interested in the Steinbruck Center hosting a poverty simulation for your group or organization, please contact the Experiential Learning Coordinator at


  • Education
  • Experiential Learning
  • Direct Service
  • Critical Analysis
  • Reflection
  • Transformation