Maryland joins WE Connect campaign to educate financially strapped residents

Last month, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley launched a website to help financially struggling residents find money-saving programs and support services provided by the state. The WE Connect: Maryland campaign is meant to spread information to individuals and families who are in need of assistance, but are unaware of existing resources, the Governor said in a statement.

“Times have not been easy for many Maryland families as they struggle to make ends meet,” Gov. O’Malley said. “It is our hope that this website, in addition to our ProblemSolver webpage, will reach out to and educate Marylanders about the programs and services available to them.”

ProblemSolver is the state’s service website designed to provide Marylanders with information regarding applicable federal and state programs. Programs spanning transportation, housing, education, health care, utilities and veterans, can be found at the ProblemSolver website, directing visitors to eligibility calculators and additional resources.

The WE Connect campaign expands these resources to include information specifically intended for working families who may be eligible for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or WIC. WE Connect: Maryland is part of a larger network of public-private partnerships that first began in 2005 where California’s First Lady Maria Shriver has led the program’s expansion to other states.

Recently, an event was held in Los Angeles by WE Connect and First Lady Shriver to promote assistance programs already on the books. According to a recent report by the New America Foundation, the state is leaving more than $1.2 billion in tax refunds on the table, with more than 800,000 Californians missing out on the EITC refunds because they don’t know about it. Additionally, federal estimates believe over half of the state’s eligible food stamp recipients are missing out on billions in support.

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