Students, homeless collaborate for "A Poverty Simulation" in Guzman Hall

Approximately 40 Dominican students and community members plus about 15 homeless and previously homeless members of San Rafael’s Downtown Street Team collaborated for “A Poverty Simulation” in Guzman Lecture Hall on Friday.

The event, covered by the Marin Independent Journal, was designed to help students understand the challenges facing local homeless and low-income families. Students role-played a month in poverty and experience low-income families' lives. Downtown Streets Team Members played the roles of institutions – payday loan shops, jails, schools, employers, banks, a homeless shelter, healthcare providers – based on their personal experiences and challenges accessing services.

The role reversal allowed the Downtown Streets Team Members to offer a realistic portrayal for students currently studying social justice or preparing to enter careers in which they will interact with the homeless population (health care, social work, teaching, counseling, etc.)

The project was organized by student Hawi Awash ’17 as her senior thesis. Hawi grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya.

March 14, 2017