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Poverty simulator gives participants new perspective

During the holiday season while many are deciding what gifts to buy loved ones, others are deciding which bills they can afford to pay.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - During the holiday season while many are deciding what gifts to buy loved ones, others are deciding which bills they can afford to pay.

More than one hundred people took part in a poverty simulator on Tuesday, to get a glimpse at what it's like to live without things many take for granted.

Each person who participated received a real-life scenario to act out. The catch- each story is of a real person in the community living in poverty.

Doug Mouncey was playing the role of an unemployed man, who just got out of prison.

“No one wanted to employ a person who had served time,” Mouncey said.

Unemployment is a big issue when you're trying to provide for a family of four.

Mouncey works for the United Way, one of several agencies helping to support the less fortunate in Central New York.

He says the exercise gave him a new perspective.

“For me, I think it's an opportunity to [see] what are some of the things we should be looking at about the programs we fund and support,” Mouncey said.

Organizers say part of the goal of Tuesday’s event was to get people thinking of ways to help others get out of poverty.

"There are so many things in our society and in our community that are holding people in poverty,” said Rhonda O’Connor with Visions for Change. “The resources in our community are band aids and they aren’t really helping and they are stuck in that system.”

Tuesday’s event was put on by Visions for Change, a non-profit that raises awareness about poverty and aims to find long term solutions to the problem.

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