Being a member of the Indiana County Community Action Board, I jumped at the chance to host a Poverty Simulation for House members as our launching point for the Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty policy initiative.
We were thrilled to have such a great turnout for the event—many thanks to Representatives Sankey, Gingrich, Dunbar, Stephens, Quinn, Saylor, Brown, Helm, Tobash, Oberlander, Delozier, Cutler, English, Kampf, Gabler, Corbin, and Fee for their participation. We were happy to be joined by members from the faith based and community organizations who volunteered to participate as well.
The simulation was sincerely an eye opening experience—providing both myself and other lawmakers with a peek at what folks living in poverty go through in attempting to not only breach economic independence but to just make ends meet.
While the simulation is designed to be stressful, it also depicts real life challenge that working poor folks face. With limited money, tight transportation budgets, ailing in-laws’ medical payments, and unexpected expenses that pop up, the simulation provided a stark example of the challenges of living in poverty in Pennsylvania.
As the Policy Committee continues to crisscross the state studying the best and worst practices in place to combat poverty, this experience will certainly stick in my mind. I hope the comprehensive approach we take in studying various types of poverty in a variety of areas of the state will continue to provide such insights to the barriers our folks face as they attempt to break out of poverty.
I want to thank Joe Ostrander, Megan Shreve and their volunteers from the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania for their efforts in putting together this simulation. This launching point certainly gave both me and other legislators a broad look at the issues facing the working poor in this state.
- Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana)