Resources Available to Assist Residents Affected by Federal Shutdown

Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro released a list of resources for residents affected by the partial federal government shutdown. Navarro encourages all residents impacted negatively by the shutdown to seek assistance. She also encourages residents who can afford to do so, to give to fundraising efforts to support those experiencing financial hardship.

“As bills are mounting each week for many of our residents, the Council wants everyone to know that resources are available to help furloughed federal employees and those who have been detrimentally impacted by the shutdown including small business owners and contractors,” said Council President Navarro.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)

“We are committed to supporting our community members affected by the ongoing partial government shutdown,” stated Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Jack Smith. “From our previously established Dine with Dignity meal program to our upcoming employment open houses, we hope to provide continued support and to be a valuable resource to the furloughed families in our county.”

Montgomery County Public Schools is holding an employment open house for furloughed federal employees and contractors on Jan. 15 and Jan. 18. Attendees can interview and apply for all open positions in the school system, including teacher, substitute teacher, maintenance staff, bus drivers, clerical staff and security staff. Attendees should bring their resume and federal identification. The employment open houses will take place as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 45 W. Gude Drive, Rockville.
  • Friday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville.

MCPS also provides meals for students impacted by the government shutdown through its Dine with Dignity Program. Launched in Nov. 2018, the program allows students with negative account balances to enjoy traditional breakfast and lunch choices at no cost. Families will be asked to pay off, or to contribute within their means when they can, toward the outstanding balance on their student’s lunch account. The Dine with Dignity Fund pays the remainder. Community members who would like to contribute to the Dine with Dignity Fund can donate online at the MCPS Foundation web page.

Montgomery College (MC)

“Keeping students enrolled in Montgomery College whose finances might have been impacted by the shutdown is a high priority,” said Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard. “We will also continue to support students through our mobile food markets, food pantries, financial aid counseling and emergency funding through the Montgomery College Foundation. Nothing should stand in the way of a college degree.”

Montgomery College is allowing individuals, who are impacted by the shutdown, to continue to apply for financial aid and it has some flexibility in financial aid processing. Students will be able to register for the spring semester and maintain their place in classes.

Students and their families can contact MC’s Accounts Receivable if they have payment issues related to the shutdown or use the MC payment plan.

The MC Foundation will continue to consider emergency assistance on a case-by-case basis, as funds are available for items like rent, food and transportation for students.

Nonprofit and County services

A Wider Circle has created a dedicated fund to support those who are financially impacted by the shutdown with food and other household essentials. Visit their website or call 301-608-3504 for more information.

Interfaith Works aids families in crisis and those potentially facing homelessness. Updated assistance information tailored to those impacted by the government shutdown will be posted on the organization’s web page. Visit their website or call 301-762-8682, for more information.

Manna Food Center is the largest food bank in the County. Visit Manna’s web site, for a full list of their programs, food distribution sites and drop off locations. Individuals wishing to donate can go visit Manna’s web site or call 301-424-1130.

The Capital Area Food Bank is holding a free pop-up market to distribute free produce and groceries to government employees and contractors affected by the shutdown. Up to 250 people can receive food with a valid ID or federal contractor ID. On Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon, the pop-up market will be located at Giant Food located at 12051 Rockville Pike. The organization has set a goal of providing 300,000 extra meals through fundraising efforts. For more information visit the Capital Area Food Bank web site.

Shepherd’s Table is prepared to serve federal workers or anyone in need of nutritious meals or clothing. Their dining room is open every day and all are welcome. For more information visit their web site or call 301-585-6463.

Women Who Care Ministries in Montgomery Village can provide food assistance for five to seven days. For more information, visit their web site or call 301-963-8588.

The County’s Health and Human Services Eviction Prevention Program provides crisis intervention assistance to qualified individuals and families. This includes emergency financial assistance and/or shelter to families and adults who are homeless or at high risk of losing housing. The program also provides help for overdue utility payments and welfare avoidance grants are available for eligible temporary cash assistance applicants. Visit the Eviction Prevention program web page or call 311.

The Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs in the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs can provide mediation assistance for tenants and landlords. For more information call 311.

The County’s Office of Consumer Protection can provide advice to residents on their rights and ability to cancel contracts. For more information call 311.

Unemployment Insurance Applications

Federal employees who have been furloughed as a result of the federal shutdown may file for unemployment using the Federal Civilian Employee Application for Benefits or you may call 410-853-1700 or contact an unemployment insurance claim center.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC)

All 421 Montgomery County Parks are open and awaiting your visit. For information about your nearest park, trail or playground visit the Montgomery Parks web site.

In addition, Montgomery Parks will be offering discounts at selected fee-based facilities including public skating sessions at its ice rinks, court time at its indoor tennis facilities, and at the Germantown Golf Driving Range. Visit the Montgomery Parks web site for details.

Utilities and financial institutions

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has suspended all water service shutoffs to ensure safe, clean water continues to flow to customer’s homes. WSSC will also waive late fees and work one-on-one with customers impacted by the shutdown to establish convenient payment plans. Customers are encouraged to call 301-206-4001 and speak directly with a customer services representative. Learn more at the WSSC web site.

PEPCO has waived late fees and customers may call to set up budget billing or to change bill dates. The utility also created a $50,000 matching grant to an emergency fund created by the United Way of the National Capital Area. County customers should call 1-800-643-3768.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) customers are encouraged to contact the company directly at 1-800-685-0123 if they are concerned about making their payments.

Washington Gas is offering flexible payment options for government employees directly impacted by the shutdown. Programs include payment deferments, budget plans and help through a fuel assistance fund. County customers can call 1-844-WASHGAS. Learn more at the Washington Gas web site.

T-Mobile and Verizon have both announced flexible payment plan assistance. Customers should contact the companies directly. Learn more at this web page.

Residents may also contact their bank, lending institution or credit card company because many are aiding their clients on a case-by-case basis.

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