Suburbanization of Poverty Impact Day: Better TogetherThe Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS) hosted a summit on the suburbanization of poverty on Friday, November 9, 2018 at Harper College. The theme was “Better Together” to reflect attendance by teachers, counselors, and administrators from Districts 211, 214, 220, and Harper College as well as local business and non-profit organization leaders. United Palatine Coalition and United Way Metro Chicago were our partners in this endeavor and the program was featured in the Daily Herald.

The day began with Elizabeth Kneebone painting a national picture of suburban poverty based upon research found in her book Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Kneebone is Senior Non-Resident Fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and Research Director of University of California-Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Colleagues from local non-profit organizations provided local context on available resources along with members of the community from low-income backgrounds. Attendees also received a resource guide. In the afternoon, participants engaged in a poverty simulation whereby they experienced a month in the life of a family in poverty. Responses were highly favorable with 100% agreement that attendees felt better equipped to serve students in poverty after attending. Responses included:

  • “This was such a wonderful opportunity; thank you for offering resources and firsthand stories to exemplify the types of impacts our community partners are making in the lives of students and families.”
  • “This morning was beneficial in that it provided information showing the needs in our community and then detailing some efforts that are already underway to improve living conditions for members of our community in need.”
  • “The real life voices heard this morning plus the simulation made the day.”


Presentation Materials & Related Resources:

Learn more about the poverty simulation kit at

Questions? Please contact Kenya Ayers, Ed.D., Vice President and Chair of the Board for NECSS at