Simulation Gives Bitter Taste of Mid-Missouri Poverty

3 years 10 months 18 hours ago Thursday, June 19 2014 Jun 19, 2014 Thursday, June 19, 2014 4:15:00 PM CDT June 19, 2014 in Poverty
By: Angie Bailey
loading

COLUMBIA - Odds are you consider yourself a busy person, trying to take care of your own business and those around you. But I and a handful of community members who are considered "busy" by any standards got a glimpse at just how time-consuming being poor is.

In my reality, it lasted just a couple of hours. The poverty simulation hosted by Central Missouri Community Action asked us to pretend. We acted like a family struggling. We had fake conversations about what help we needed. We filled out phony applications for services and jobs. It wasn't real--except it was--just not for us.

The depressing family facts we were handed upon arrival were very real. We played out a slice in the lives of actual mom, dads, children and senior citizens trying to navigate a huge and complicated assembly of resources designed to help-as long as you can figure out how to use them.

You start seeking any kind of support you can find. I was an eight-year-old boy. Our formerly dual-income family was down to one parent working, three kids to feed, no health insurance and a lot of monthly bills. I had some resources, but I couldn't get to the right place at the right time to get anything accomplished. Playing the parent, I applied for a job and they told me they would get back to me. But then I never heard from them.

That's no place to be, believe me.

Other families had it worse: homeless, living with a disability, or with no transportation to get help. Again, that's reality.

I did see success. We kept our house!

But I saw far more payday advances and eviction notices.

Twenty-eight thousand men, women and kids live in poverty in Boone County. Right here. Whether you see it or not, you're passing by them every single day. Most are trying. But the amount of time required to get help is daunting. And the unexplained intricacies of an overwhelmed system would frustrate and anger pretty much anyone. Central Missouri Community Action exists to help guide the poor in our community through the frustrating and slow system.

It helped almost ten thousand families in eight mid-Missouri counties get more than $5.9 million in help last year.

CMCA community services director Angela Hurst talked about her disappointment in our country's public aid system. It cuts off huge chunks of money to recipients when they get even slightly more money at work. They lose childcare subsidies, rent assistance and more. It all gets taken away or significantly reduced if a working mom accepts as little as a 5 cent per hour raise.

Hurst said it is a system with too many penalties for those living in poverty when they improve their circumstances.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Multiple groups with the city of Columbia hosted a public information meeting Tuesday to discuss short-term rentals, such... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 5:08:00 PM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
NEW YORK — Starbucks, moving swiftly to confront a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 5:05:00 PM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Senate committee heard public hearings Tuesday about a few bills related to expecting mothers and their... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 4:03:00 PM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The city council approved a petition to downzone properties in the West-Ash neighborhood Monday night, marking the end... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 3:00:00 PM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Truman VA has a new way to help veterans fight the blues by using the blues. ... More >>
3 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 12:27:00 PM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's office has turned over evidence to the St. Louis circuit attorney for... More >>
3 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 11:27:00 AM CDT April 17, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY— The Latest on allegations against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local): 12:15 p.m. The leader... More >>
3 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 11:07:00 AM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY— The Latest on allegations against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local): 9:20 a.m. A spokeswoman says... More >>
3 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 10:05:01 AM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Tax Day is April 17 this year, and the Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers that scammers are... More >>
3 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 8:03:00 AM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - During popular events like football games and graduation, hotels and short-term rentals are in great demand. One... More >>
3 days ago Tuesday, April 17 2018 Apr 17, 2018 Tuesday, April 17, 2018 3:07:00 AM CDT April 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A Jefferson City business owner asked the city council to consider putting a municipal use tax for... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 9:08:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City Council voted Monday evening to approve a seven hundred thousand dollar storm drain replacement plan. The... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 7:49:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in News
ELDON - Rural school districts such as Eldon and Fatima are waiting for funding for better broadband from the Missouri... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 7:28:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in Continuous News
MARIES COUNTY - A motorcycle driver with active warrants for his arrest went over 135 mph and later wrecked his... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 6:50:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - All this week United Way and early childhood educators, students and child care professionals will celebrate the... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 6:22:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the investigation of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local): 3:45... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 5:53:49 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA – For the first time in four years, the number of child abuse and neglect reports in Missouri has... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 5:34:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City council will hear a report, Monday night, at its meeting on inclusionary housing and zoning. Inclusionary... More >>
3 days ago Monday, April 16 2018 Apr 16, 2018 Monday, April 16, 2018 5:22:00 PM CDT April 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 60°
2pm 61°
3pm 63°
4pm 63°
5pm 63°