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Important Update: MCPS to provide triple meal service on Fridays for *All* County Children and Students

Montgomery County Public Schools is providing curbside meal service at 74 school sites. Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (double meals) and Friday (no meal service on Thursday). The district is increasing to a triple meal service on Fridays, beginning Sept. 18, to help address food insecurity for MCPS students over the weekend.  The USDA has granted waivers which again permit meal distribution to all youth 18 and under. MCPS students over 18 will need to provide a student id to pick up meals. Student names will be required for meal pick up. All sites are outside, and we ask that you wear a facemask and practice physical/social distancing as you pick up meals. Menu information is available on the main Menu webpage. Allergens, nutrients and other information can be found on the Wellness & Nutrition webpage.

 

The district will also continue to partner with local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, county government agencies, and others to provide food and other critical resources to the community. Additionally, families are encouraged to visit Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Food Resource page for additional resources.

For sites and more information visit this MCPS webpage

Update: Montgomery County Launches $20 Million COVID Rent Relief Program: Now Accepting Requests for Second Phase of Rental Assistance

Montgomery County officials today launched the second phase of the COVID Rent Relief Program to provide financial assistance to eligible residents.  Administered by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the program will accept applications on a rolling basis while funds remain available.

The $20-million funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES act expands rental assistance and homelessness prevention to low-income households that have experienced a loss of income due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The funding was introduced by County Executive Marc Elrich and approved by the County Council in July.

More than $1 million in financial assistance was given to eligible households in the initial phase of the program. DHHS has continued to maintain an active waitlist and the process for requesting assistance has been streamlined since the first phase was introduced earlier this year.

Eligible renters must certify that they have income under 60 percent of the average median income, which is $65,529 for a family of three; that they lost income due to COVID-19; that they are rent-burdened and behind on rent; and that they have been a resident of Montgomery County since February 2020. Households may have formal or informal lease arrangements.

Approved households may receive up to $4,000 for rent arrears and a rent credit for future months, paid directly to the landlord when a formal lease agreement exists. Eligible households who have an informal rental arrangement will receive rental assistance based on their monthly rental costs up to $4,000. For households with informal rental arrangements that do not have a lease in their name, the grant may be provided directly to the tenant. All assistance is based on the availability of funds.

For more information, including details about program requirements and an online application are on the County’s COVID-19 website. Households can complete the online application or contact 311 for additional assistance.  Renters facing an immediate loss of housing should also call 311 to discuss their situation with Montgomery County Housing Stabilization Services.

Households that have already received a COVID Rent Relief Grant, a State Assisted Housing Relief Program grant (through their property), or those who are receiving a housing voucher are not eligible. The COVID-19 Rent Relief Program is separate and different than the Rental Assistance Program operated by Housing Opportunities Commission, but households may apply to both.

Applications will be prioritized based on areas of highest COVID-19 impact, with households outside of the initial “high impact” neighborhoods placed on a waitlist and contacted as capacity allows.

DHHS has developed a Homeless Prevention Index to evaluate all neighborhoods in relation to COVID-19 impact, housing stress, and social determinants. Applications will be prioritized based on areas of highest COVID impact, with households outside of the initial “high impact” neighborhoods placed on a waitlist and contacted as capacity allows. This will enable to the program to ensure that an equity lenses is utilized, recognizing that communities of color have been significantly impacted by COVID, disproportionately experience homelessness, and are more likely to get evicted.

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Important Update: MCPS to Resume Free Meal Service for *All* County Children and Students

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the waivers that allow school systems to provide free meals to students during the summer months. MCPS will resume providing free breakfast and lunch to all county children and enrolled MCPS students.  A student identification number will not be required, however, names will be taken for each child.

Meal service will continue at 74 sites.  Beginning Tuesday, September 8, MCPS will reinstate the following mobile sites:

School Bus Service Sites:
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (double meals) and Friday at the following locations:

Pembridge/Amherst Apartments

Nob Hill Apartments

Woodmont Apartments

Forest Park Apartments

 

<.> MCPS will transition to a more traditional food service program this fall, starting on Monday, Aug. 31, the first day of the 2020-2021 school year. Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided to MCPS students at 74 meal sites. A student must be enrolled in an MCPS school to receive these meals. This curbside meal service will be provided from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (no meal service on Thursday). Students/families will need their student identification number in order to pick up a meal. Standard meal prices will be charged and students who receive Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS) will continue to pay reduced rates. Payment will come from a student’s lunch account. Families can pick up meals at any of the 74 sites. MCPS is mailing this information home to all families, along with student ID numbers. The district will also continue to partner with local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, county government agencies and others to provide food and other critical resources to the community. Additionally, families are encouraged to visit Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Food Resource page for additional resources. Parents/guardians of enrolled MCPS students can click here to opt in for 2020 Fall Meal Curbside Service. Meals will be available at 74 sites around Montgomery County.  For a list of meal sites, click here.
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Meals Service Programs for MCPS Students

MCPS will transition to a more traditional food service program this fall, starting on Monday, Aug. 31, the first day of the 2020-2021 school year. Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided to MCPS students at 74 meal sites. A student must be enrolled in an MCPS school to receive these meals. This curbside meal service will be provided from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (no meal service on Thursday). Students/families will need their student identification number in order to pick up a meal. Standard meal prices will be charged and students who receive Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS) will continue to pay reduced rates. Payment will come from a student’s lunch account. Families can pick up meals at any of the 74 sites. MCPS is mailing this information home to all families, along with student ID numbers. The district will also continue to partner with local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, county government agencies and others to provide food and other critical resources to the community. Additionally, families are encouraged to visit Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Food Resource page for additional resources. Parents/guardians of enrolled MCPS students can click here to opt in for 2020 Fall Meal Curbside Service. Meals will be available at 74 sites around Montgomery County.  For a list of meal sites, click here.

Montgomery County Creates Guide on How to Access Sexual Assault Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

Montgomery County’s Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program (VASAP), part of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, and the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) have produced a guide on how to access sexual assault forensic exams (also known as SAFEs or “rape kits”), services, and counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that can leave survivors concerned about what they should do next. The questions and fears that survivors have after an assault are often overwhelming and scary, and the additional stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic have created new barriers to getting help. Help for sexual assault survivors has continued, even in the face of stay at home orders.

The guide provides survivors with information on what to expect during a forensic exam and how services have been redesigned to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. The informational guide is available here.  

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View Montgomery County’s programs for abused adults and children, and what our organizations are doing to prevent violence in our community.

Free Covid-19 Testing in Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan has expanded free coronavirus testing to those without symptoms starting Thursday, May 21, 2020.

The governor’s order allows people without symptoms but who may have been exposed to the virus to be tested without a doctor’s order at select state testing sites. It also calls on doctors to seek tests for such patients.

The appointment-free, drive-thru tests will be available at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Rd, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093, starting Thursday, May 21, followed by sites at the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) – Glen Burnie, 721 E Ordnance Rd., Curtis Bay, MD 21226, and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program VEIP Station, Hyattsville, 7401 Jefferson Ave, Hyattsville, MD, 20785 on Friday, May 22. The week of May 26 the state plans to begin testing at the Clinton VEIP station 7213 Old Alexandria Ferry Rd, Clinton, MD 20735.

Please see the Maryland Department of Health testing information on this website for more information.

Enroll for Free COVID-19 Contact Tracing offered by Johns Hopkins University

The COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented need for contact tracing across the country, requiring thousands of people to learn key skills quickly. The job qualifications for contact tracing positions differ throughout the country and the world, with some new positions open to individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent.

In this introductory course, students will learn about the science of SARS-CoV-2 , including the infectious period, the clinical presentation of COVID-19, and the evidence for how SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from person-to-person and why contact tracing can be such an effective public health intervention. Students will learn about how contact tracing is done, including how to build rapport with cases, identify their contacts, and support both cases and their contacts to stop transmission in their communities. The course will also cover several important ethical considerations around contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. Finally, the course will identify some of the most common barriers to contact tracing efforts — along with strategies to overcome them.

Sign up here: Enroll

COVID-19: Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) Applications are open

What is the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) Program?

CASA de Maryland, Inc., Catholic Charities, Family Services, Inc. Impact Silver Spring, Identity, Inc., Interfaith Works, and Mary’s Center are the community-based organizations that have partnered with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to process EARP applications. If you have previously used their services, contact them and they will submit an application on your behalf. Alternatively, you can contact one of these referral agenciesreferral agencies.

Phase 2 of the EARP program begins on Monday, May 18.

How do I apply for the EARP in Phase 2?

There are three ways to apply for the EARP.

  1. Apply through one of the community-based organizations that has partnered with Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to process applications.  If you have previously used their services, contact them and they will submit an application on your behalf.  
  2. Apply through one of the referral agencies that will connect you to a participating community-based organization.
  3. Call MC311 and ask about completing an application and being assigned to a processing organization.  You will be placed in line and contacted by a partner organization.  Processing will be much faster with a referral.  Be sure to write down your Service Request Number .

You can find out more information here https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS/RightNav/Coronavirus_EARP.html ID-19 aid. Who is eligible for the EARP?
  • People who live in Montgomery County and need relief for food and essentials.
  • People who live in Montgomery County and will not benefit from the Federal and State relief programs.
  • Individuals/families with an income equal to or less than 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level*
Why were these categories selected? To provide assistance to target populations that need relief for food and essentials and will not benefit from the Federal and State relief programs How much is the payment? Benefits will be issued as follows:
  • Single Adult – $500
  • Family with one child – $1,000
  • Families with children – $1,000 (family with one child) with an additional $150 for each additional child, with a maximum of $1,450
  • Head of household should be 18 years or older, the claimed child should be less and not equal to 19 years old
  • The benefit increases by $150 per child to a maximum of $1,450
Will individuals who received EARP benefits have to pay the money back?
  • This is not a loan; it is a grant that the County is providing.
  • It is an investment in the families and communities of Montgomery County so recipients will not have to pay back the money.
  • Individuals and families who receive this benefit will not be taxed because this will not be considered income.  In addition, the payments will not affect a family’s eligibility for other federal government assistance or benefit programs.
How much will family with six children get? Since the maximum benefit is $1,450, a family of six will get $1,450.  The benefit reaches the maximum amount for a family with four children. Will I have to pay the money back? No, the Payment is a grant, not a loan, and you will not have to pay the money back. Will I have to pay 2020 taxes on this money? No, the Payment is not income, and you will not owe tax on your payment. A payment also will not affect your income for purposes of determining eligibility other Federal government assistance or benefit programs. How will I get the money? Financial assistance will be distributed in three (3) phases. Phase 1: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will issue checks to eligible families enrolled in the Care for Kids program. The money will come as a check and will be mailed to your address. Phase 2: DHHS will partner with nonprofit service providers in the community to identify additional families and individuals eligible to receive the cash assistance. Phase 3: DHHS will open up an application process for residents who did not receive assistance through Phases 1 and 2. Eligible residents may apply directly to DHHS for assistance. County officials anticipate that all three phases will be implemented before the end of May. What are the eligibility criteria?
  • You are not eligible to file for Federal or State taxes file; and
  • You may not have filed nor are you eligible to receive unemployment; and
  • Your annual income must be below 50 percent of Federal Poverty Level; and
  • You must be a Montgomery County resident and provide a valid Montgomery County address
What documentation is needed? Recommended Documentation for Phase 2 and Phase 3: ✓ Driver’s License or another photo identification ✓ Proof of residency (lease or bill) ✓ Proof of last income ✓ Verification of number of children, such as:
➢ Birth certificates U.S. or other ➢ School report card ➢ Doctor’s visit notification, etc. (for infants and toddlers)
Documents can be scanned, faxed or photographed with phone and sent to a designated e-mail. Exact instructions for emailing documents will be obtained from the agency that processes your application.  What information will I need to report? The application process contains some basic demographic information for each member of the household, including language spoken, race, ethnicity, and zip code. I am enrolled in Care for Kids program, why didn’t I get a check in Phase 1? Phase 1 recipients were chosen based on active enrollment in the Care for Kids program as of April 3, 2020. If your children were enrolled in Care for Kids and the case(s) are inactive or closed, you were not included in the Phase 1 issuance.  I think that I should have gotten a check in Phase 1, what do I do? Phase 1 is a one-time-only issuance from the Care for Kids database as of April 3, 2020. If you did not get a check in this Phase, you may apply in Phase 2 when applications are processed by designated community organizations. Come back to this website later for a list of community organizations that will accept applications. How will Phase 2 work with the partners? For more information about the designated community organizations that will accept applications, come back to this website at a later date. Once I apply in Phase 2 or Phase 3, how long will it take to get a benefit? When your application is accepted by one of the community-based organizations, it may take approximately four days for the application to be approved. Following approval, it may take an additional four days to receive the benefit. Does the benefit have to be a check? Your benefit in Phase 1 will be a check for DHHS. There are no other options. Options for Phase 2 will be posted to the website at a later date. My income in 2019 was higher than the Poverty Table, but now I have no income. Can I still apply? Yes, your current income should be reported. Will DHHS contact me about my payment? If you are designated to receive a check in Phase1, DHHS will send you a letter about the check. If that letter is returned or if there is a question about your mailing address, you may receive a call from DHHS to verify your benefit. If you apply in Phase 2 or Phase 3, you may be contacted by DHHS or by the community organization where you applied.  Most calls will be about verification of documents received. What is the Federal Poverty Level? 
The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a measure that is used to decide whether the income of an individual or family qualifies them for certain benefits and programs. The FPL tables used to determine eligibility for the EARP is below. 2020 Federal Poverty Levels for all states (except Alaska and Hawaii) Annual Income
Household /Family Size 50% *100%*
1      6,380 $12,760
2      8,620 $17,240
3    10,860 $21,720
4    13,100 $26,200
5    15,340 $30,680
Where can I call if I have additional questions?

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Want to See if You’re Eligible for SNAP?

Repost from  Maryland Hunger Solutions

Want to see if you’re eligible for SNAP?

In light of recent events involving COVID-19, we would like to remind those seeking assistance with SNAP applications to apply online via https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us. This will be the fastest way you can get connected to your benefits, as we are experiencing high call volume. If you want to check on the status of an already submitted SNAP application or have questions about your case, please contact the DSS Customer Call Center at 1-800-332-6347, as we are unable to do so for you. If you are unable to submit an application on your own, we can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone and direct you to additional food resources.  Please contact Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance. Before you apply, here is what you should know. AVISO SOBRE LOS BENEFICIOS DE SNAP. A chart of eligibility requirements can be found  here.
 

COVID-19: Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP)

What is the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment (EARP) Program?

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing an unprecedented financial hardship for many Montgomery County residents, the Emergency Assistance Relief Payment is a program that provides immediate financial assistance to households in need.  While the need is great, this program seeks to fill the gaps for those who are not eligible or who will not benefit directly from the federal or state COVID-19 aid. Who is eligible for the EARP?
  • People who live in Montgomery County and need relief for food and essentials.
  • People who live in Montgomery County and will not benefit from the Federal and State relief programs.
  • Individuals/families with an income equal to or less than 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level*
Why were these categories selected? To provide assistance to target populations that need relief for food and essentials and will not benefit from the Federal and State relief programs How much is the payment? Benefits will be issued as follows:
  • Single Adult – $500
  • Family with one child – $1,000
  • Families with children – $1,000 (family with one child) with an additional $150 for each additional child, with a maximum of $1,450
  • Head of household should be 18 years or older, the claimed child should be less and not equal to 19 years old
  • The benefit increases by $150 per child to a maximum of $1,450
Will individuals who received EARP benefits have to pay the money back?
  • This is not a loan; it is a grant that the County is providing.
  • It is an investment in the families and communities of Montgomery County so recipients will not have to pay back the money.
  • Individuals and families who receive this benefit will not be taxed because this will not be considered income.  In addition, the payments will not affect a family’s eligibility for other federal government assistance or benefit programs.
How much will family with six children get? Since the maximum benefit is $1,450, a family of six will get $1,450.  The benefit reaches the maximum amount for a family with four children. Will I have to pay the money back? No, the Payment is a grant, not a loan, and you will not have to pay the money back. Will I have to pay 2020 taxes on this money? No, the Payment is not income, and you will not owe tax on your payment. A payment also will not affect your income for purposes of determining eligibility other Federal government assistance or benefit programs. How will I get the money? Financial assistance will be distributed in three (3) phases. Phase 1: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will issue checks to eligible families enrolled in the Care for Kids program. The money will come as a check and will be mailed to your address. Phase 2: DHHS will partner with nonprofit service providers in the community to identify additional families and individuals eligible to receive the cash assistance. Phase 3: DHHS will open up an application process for residents who did not receive assistance through Phases 1 and 2. Eligible residents may apply directly to DHHS for assistance. County officials anticipate that all three phases will be implemented before the end of May. What are the eligibility criteria?
  • You are not eligible to file for Federal or State taxes file; and
  • You may not have filed nor are you eligible to receive unemployment; and
  • Your annual income must be below 50 percent of Federal Poverty Level; and
  • You must be a Montgomery County resident and provide a valid Montgomery County address
What documentation is needed? Recommended Documentation for Phase 2 and Phase 3: ✓ Driver’s License or another photo identification ✓ Proof of residency (lease or bill) ✓ Proof of last income ✓ Verification of number of children, such as:
➢ Birth certificates U.S. or other ➢ School report card ➢ Doctor’s visit notification, etc. (for infants and toddlers)
Documents can be scanned, faxed or photographed with phone and sent to a designated e-mail. Exact instructions for emailing documents will be obtained from the agency that processes your application.  What information will I need to report? The application process contains some basic demographic information for each member of the household, including language spoken, race, ethnicity, and zip code. I am enrolled in Care for Kids program, why didn’t I get a check in Phase 1? Phase 1 recipients were chosen based on active enrollment in the Care for Kids program as of April 3, 2020. If your children were enrolled in Care for Kids and the case(s) are inactive or closed, you were not included in the Phase 1 issuance.  I think that I should have gotten a check in Phase 1, what do I do? Phase 1 is a one-time-only issuance from the Care for Kids database as of April 3, 2020. If you did not get a check in this Phase, you may apply in Phase 2 when applications are processed by designated community organizations. Come back to this website later for a list of community organizations that will accept applications. How will Phase 2 work with the partners? For more information about the designated community organizations that will accept applications, come back to this website at a later date. Once I apply in Phase 2 or Phase 3, how long will it take to get a benefit? When your application is accepted by one of the community-based organizations, it may take approximately four days for the application to be approved. Following approval, it may take an additional four days to receive the benefit. Does the benefit have to be a check? Your benefit in Phase 1 will be a check for DHHS. There are no other options. Options for Phase 2 will be posted to the website at a later date. My income in 2019 was higher than the Poverty Table, but now I have no income. Can I still apply? Yes, your current income should be reported. Will DHHS contact me about my payment? If you are designated to receive a check in Phase1, DHHS will send you a letter about the check. If that letter is returned or if there is a question about your mailing address, you may receive a call from DHHS to verify your benefit. If you apply in Phase 2 or Phase 3, you may be contacted by DHHS or by the community organization where you applied.  Most calls will be about verification of documents received. What is the Federal Poverty Level? 
The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a measure that is used to decide whether the income of an individual or family qualifies them for certain benefits and programs. The FPL tables used to determine eligibility for the EARP is below. 2020 Federal Poverty Levels for all states (except Alaska and Hawaii) Annual Income
Household /Family Size 50% *100%*
1      6,380 $12,760
2      8,620 $17,240
3    10,860 $21,720
4    13,100 $26,200
5    15,340 $30,680
Where can I call if I have additional questions?

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