Maryland Hunger Solutions Helps Eligible Low-Income Households Apply for Food Assistance While Filing Their Taxes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kirsten Bokenkamp, 202-986-2200 x 3974; firstname.lastname@example.org
BALTIMORE – March 14, 2013 – For the second year in a row, Maryland Hunger Solutions (MDHS) has partnered with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Community Action Agency to connect low-income families who benefit from free tax assistance to the Food Supplement Program (FSP, formerly known as food stamps and known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP nationally).
Expanding from two Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites last year, MDHS now has FSP Outreach & Resource Navigators in all four VITA sites in Montgomery County. The Navigators provide information about FSP, screen households for eligibility, and assist those eligible with the FSP application at the VITA sites, which provide free income tax assistance and ensure eligible Marylanders receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Halfway into this year’s tax season, MDHS has educated nearly 400 people about FSP and screened more than 50 households for benefits.
“It makes perfect sense to conduct food assistance outreach at VITA sites because people who receive EITC are often eligible to receive Food Supplement Program benefits,” said Cathy Demeroto, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “The best way to ensure that the Food Supplement Program reaches all eligible Maryland households is to go out into communities and provide information about the program, and that’s exactly what we are doing.”
In addition to the four sites in Montgomery County, MDHS also conducts FSP outreach at VITA sites in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City and urges low-income Marylanders to visit a VITA site that offers information about FSP. The following VITA sites are staffed with FSP Outreach & Resource Navigators:
- Takoma Park-East Silver Spring Center (TESS)
- Wheaton Mid-County Services Center
- Gaithersburg, Family Services, Inc.
- Rockville, Courthouse Square
Prince George’s County
- New Carrollton, Municipal Center
- PNC Bank in North Baltimore
Last year, MDHS reached 543 low-income households, screened 332 to see if they were eligible for FSP, and directly assisted 56 households file applications. In recognition of its FSP outreach efforts, MDHS was awarded the 2012 Henry L. Dixon Community Action Award for Organizational Achievement by the Community Action Board in Montgomery County.
Maryland Hunger Solutions is the lead research, public education, and advocacy group in Maryland dedicated to using public programs to end hunger in Maryland. Maryland Hunger Solutions is an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center. For more information, visit www.mdhungersolutions.org or follow us on Twitter.