About the Poverty Challenge

The Poverty Challenge is an experiential event to educate participants on the challenges of living in urban poverty.


As a participant, you’ll be given a profile to
follow and challenges that you’ll try to meet by seeking help from local agencies during
a simulation involving real procedures and documents from community and government
organizations in your hometown.

You’ll have to do your best to succeed by providing the necessary answers, information and documentation. If you are not successful, you’ll have to find another way for you and your family to survive.

After the simulation, you’ll have a chance to talk to other participants at the Challenge, and learn from experts about the difficulties of living on social assistance.

Poverty is a complex issue that affects hundreds of tens of people in Ontario alone, but some of the problems that cause it to exist can be fixed.  The Poverty Challenge will give you experience and support you need to become an agent of social change.



Comments from participants in a Poverty Challenge hosted by the Kingston and District Community Foundation:

“The learning experience from the simulation was tremendously powerful, eye opening and useful.”


“It was a great learning experience! It was also frustrating and exhausting! I thought it was very well run, the volunteer agency “actors” were amazing and so convincing. I encountered kindness and cold, hard reality from them.”


“Totally frustrating, but excellent, experience. I have such a better appreciation of the hoops that people living in poverty have to jump through, and the many ‘catch-22’s that they face in trying to improve their situations.”


“It was the most eye-opening experience ever. I learned so much today and not just in a superficial way, but actually having a glimpse of what it feels like [to live on social assistance]”