MUM and other emergency assistance providers in Maryland and across the country are concerned about impending hunger and housing “cliffs” as pandemic-era emergency protections and benefit programs run out. Montgomery County’s pandemic rent relief program is no longer receiving applications and caps on rent increases and moratoriums on evictions have expired. And as of March 1, the expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) benefits ended – all as food and housing costs continue to rise.
It can be easy to forget that these issues affect so many in Montgomery County, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. But MUM’s in-office and mobile food pantries are seeing increased numbers of our neighbors seeking food each week. At the mobile food pantry at Aspen Hill Christian Church on the first Sunday in March (pictured above), we provided food to nearly 300 households, compared to around 200 per Sunday for most of 2022. Each Sunday in March we continued to see a significant increase in numbers, with many arriving on site before we could set up the food pantry. On a recent day at our office pantry, 17 households came to get food.
MUM has also seen an increase in inquiries and applications for eviction prevention and utility cutoff prevention assistance and that is expected to continue. There are two very different proposals being discussed by the Montgomery County Council to limit increases in rent, which is affecting the most vulnerable residents in our county and many of the people seeking assistance from MUM. The “HOME Act” would limit rent increases to 3%, while the “Anti-Rent Gouging” bill would allow rents to increase 8% plus the Consumer Price Index for Urban Centers, or between 13 and 15%. The bills also differ on exemptions for landlord size and the age of the building.
We know that you – our community of MUM supporters – is concerned and committed to supporting our neighbors experiencing such challenges. MUM invites you to stay up-to-date on the issues facing many in our community and to advocate for sustainable solutions, not just band aids. Here are just a few recent news items related to these issues –
- Montgomery County officials seek help from Md. as pandemic aid dries up – The Washington Post
- Caps on rent hikes test Montgomery’s appetite for tenant protections – The Washington Post
- SNAP’s extra pandemic food stamp benefit is set to end in March 2023 – The Washington Post
- Public Food Assistance Benefits Plummet as Food Prices Rise – Montgomery Community Media (mymcmedia.org)
- Pandemic food assistance that helped reduce hunger has ended : Shots – Health News : NPR
- SNAP cuts could lead to ‘hunger cliff,’ experts fear | The Hill
Your financial, in-kind, and volunteer contributions help MUM support some of those who are experiencing these hardships, and allow MUM to work with others to advocate for more affordable housing and sustainable solutions to these chronic issues. To learn more and join others in advocating to improve food security in our county, see the Montgomery County Food Council Food System Advocacy Food System Advocacy page.
More News from MUM
MUM Needs Volunteers!
MUM cannot meet the growing needs in our community without many volunteers. We need more consistent volunteers, as well as more Spanish speakers, to continue to work at our current scale. To volunteer in the office, in preparing food during the week or at the mobile food pantries on Sundays, with community and fundraising events, or in other ways, please fill out the MUM Volunteer Form, call (301-929-8675), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUM is preparing for the Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive on May 13th. If you would like to help with organizing, transporting donations, sorting donations, or in any other way, please call (301-929-8675) or email (email@example.com).
We also invite you to participate in this community event and food drive in partnership with One Montgomery Green on April 15 from 9 am until noon.
MUM Seeks part-time Food Distribution and Storage Manager
MUM is seeking to hire a part-time Food Distribution and Storage Manager to manage the food donations and deliveries for our food pantries, prepare food and materials for the mobile food pantries, and help with loading and unloading for the mobile food pantries on Sundays. If you know of anyone who would be a good fit for this job (or even better, to volunteer!), please share this: https://mumhelp.org/about-mum/mum-staff/#hiring
Thank you for your continued support of MUM’s work to meet the continued needs of our neighbors. We make it easy to donate money, food, and time!