In the simulation, participants assume the roles of different families facing poverty. Some are newly unemployed, the “breadwinner recently deserts some” and others are recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, formerly AFDC), either with or without additional earned income. Still others are senior citizens receiving Social Security or grandparents raising their grandchildren.
The experience lasts from two to three hours. It includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in which participant and volunteer staffers share their feelings and experiences and talk about what they have learned about the lives of people in poverty