Over the century that The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF)has been in existence, we have held true to our core value of empowering the community to support the needs of poor and struggling children, youth and families through a comprehensive array of services which ensure a “more equitable and inclusive Montgomery County.” Our Board of Trustees, staff, and over 2,500 volunteers work together in pursuit of social justice for those locked out of a quality life due to dire circumstances and social conditions most often beyond their control or limited vision.
For nearly four decades, NCCF has served homeless families in Montgomery County, earning consistent recognition. As a service provider we have witnessed first-hand the unique challenges of homelessness in this area. But in order to fulfill the community empowerment portion of our mission we need to make visible what has been unseen in Montgomery County, homeless children and their families. NCCF is in our season of advocacy. We are finding a way to lead and to use our knowledge and evidence to drive change in our region. I invite you to read our newest publication Invisible and Homeless: A 2018 Study of Children, Youth, and their Parents in Montgomery County, Maryland.
This study represents a glimpse into the journeys of 630 homeless and poor children residing in 2018 in Montgomery County, Maryland, along with 300 adults. Their existence occurs in the very shadows of the challenges confronting their impoverished, frequently desperate parents, who are likely to be young, a single mother, African American, and unemployed. A third of the parents surveyed had no income. Moving from family or friends in this highly diverse, rapidly evolving socio-economic county, nearly a third of the adults also had been evicted from their own housing. Most dramatic, however is the fact that Black children in Montgomery County are living in poverty at a rate of 8 times compared to white children. When one examines closely this overlay of poverty onto housing instability, the results are devastating.
Unfortunately, because these children are not specifically categorized or labeled (none of which is actually desirable), they remain unnoticed, often unacknowledged and consequently under-served throughout our community. This study report concludes with implications for additional research and policy/practice innovations which call for additional investments to be made in Montgomery County’s social infrastructure.