The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in partnership with local municipalities and community-based organizations, has opened Neighborhood Service Centers in Gaithersburg and Wheaton to bring emergency food and housing stabilization services to areas hit hardest by the current economic crisis.
Working in partnership with Family Services, Inc., IMPACT Silver Spring, the City of Gaithersburg, Interfaith Works and the Community Foundation, the Gaithersburg Neighborhood Service Center (NSC) opened in March at the Family Services’ offices, located at 602 East Diamond Avenue. The center is open Monday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and serves families and individuals in the 20877 zip code. In addition to providing access to services at the Gaithersburg Center, the NSC is located within a complex of other non-profit providers, including Home Free-USA, Manna Food, the Dwelling Place, Guide Youth Services, Interfaith Upcounty Clothing Center, Teen and Young Adult Health Connection, Community Clinic and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
The Wheaton Neighborhood Service Center, with Catholic Charities as the lead non-profit partner agency, opened in late April at 12247 Georgia Avenue. The center is open Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and serves families and individuals in zip codes 20902 and 20906.
Montgomery County has not been immune from the economic downturn and many neighborhoods have been hit hard by rising unemployment, hunger, evictions and foreclosures. The County’s Department of Health and Human Services’ data shows higher rates of evictions, increased reports of child neglect and domestic abuse, and emergency assistance requests.
The centers are staffed by “community connectors” who have been trained by Health and Human Services to assist residents in completing applications for food stamps, utility assistance and health services; collecting documents required for the applications; and making referrals to other resources when needed. Residents can apply for the following services at the centers:
• Temporary Cash Assistance
• Food Stamps
• Medical Assistance
• Eviction Prevention and Utility Disconnections
• Home Energy Programs and Rental Assistance
In addition, residents are screened for eligibility for a variety of other DHHS services.
IMPACT Silver Spring is leading a grassroots campaign in partnership with neighborhood apartment and townhouse complex and other residents to raise awareness of the new resources available. Through door-to-door and community outreach services, IMPACT Silver Spring connects residents to community resources and other support groups.
For more information, call the Gaithersburg Center at 301-840-4080 and the Wheaton Center at 301-942-1790.
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Media Contact: Mary Anderson, 240-777-6534
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