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Gateway Hosted Poverty Simulation

poverty simulationGateway Community & Technical College hosted a poverty simulation Friday, March 16 at their Boone Campus. Community members who attended got a glimpse into what a life in poverty looks like.

18.5 percent of Kentuckians are currently living in poverty. Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but still qualify to receive types of public assistance such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and Pell Grants. Even more take advantage of food banks, childcare assistance, and unemployment insurance.

“I want other people to see that poverty is not a crime. People in poverty aren’t lazy. We are normal people working hard to keep our families together,” said Cynthia Rodewald, Ready to Work student at Gateway. “It’s important for people to know what we go through because life is hard when you can’t make ends meet.”

The simulation was designed to help those who have enough to understand the situations that many Northern Kentuckians experience every day. Situations ranged from going class, getting a job or trying to get help with a heating bill. Some had to decide whether to take an elderly family member to the doctor or try to pay rent before being evicted; decisions that are made every day by those who live in poverty.

“Any time you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially in our region where we can sometimes lose sight of anyone living in poverty, it’s meaningful,” said Kim Webb, executive director, Emergency Shelter of NKY.

The Poverty Simulation provided participants with the opportunity to assume the role of a low-income person. The simulation was divided into four, 15-minute sessions, each representing one week of a month, in which participants try to provide for themselves and their family.

“It was a powerful wake up call to the heroic efforts our community makes to get to a better life,” said Dr. Fernando Figueroa, Gateway Community & Technical College president.

The Gateway Foundation sponsored the Poverty Simulation.