On March 31, we look forward to welcoming representatives from Shepherd’s Table, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) and the Montgomery County Community Action Board (CAB) to share their insights into poverty and homelessness, what their organizations are doing to effect change, and how faith communities such as ours can help. Following the presentations there will be ample time for Q&A.
In a county consistently ranked among the 20 wealthiest in the United States, how is it possible that 70,000 of our neighbors – including 20,000 children – are living in poverty, and a thousand are homeless? According to the Montgomery County Community Action Agency, 6.7% of county residents have incomes below the Federal Poverty Line ($12,060 for single adults, $24,600 for families of four with two children). To afford the basic necessities of life in Montgomery County costs more than three times as much ($37,807 and $91,252, according to the 2016 Self-Sufficiency Standard), meaning that tens of thousands more are “near poor” who struggle just to pay for housing, utilities, food, medical and child care. In fact, a third of all students in Montgomery County Public Schools qualify for the Free and Reduced Meals Program.
Shepherd’s Table and the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH) are two local organizations dedicated to reducing poverty and improving the self-sufficiency of low-income residents. Good Shepherd has supported both organizations for many years through our Social Ministries Committee by preparing and serving meals and collecting clothing and toiletries. The Montgomery County Community Action Board (CAB) advocates on behalf of the poor and working poor of the County with the County Council and County Executive and supports governance of Community Action Agency programs.