Men and women who grew up in Montgomery County, who worked there, and who help provide the high level of community services that attract so many affluent residents are finding in increasing numbers that they can no longer afford the good life in Montgomery.

The median price of housing -- new and old, single-family, townhouse and condominium -- is $75,000. A family can expect to pay more than $100,000 for a detached house.

These prices and the county's high rents are beyond the reach of many Montgomery classroom teachers, whose salaries range from $12,103 to $22,147; of firefighters, whose pay ranges from $15,000 to $23,000, and of police officers, who are paid from $15,235 to $23,039.

Most of the demand for housing now comes from people who already live and work in Montgomery -- young people moving from their parents' homes, families splitting up through divorce and tenants forced to move because of condominium conversions, according to County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist.

County personnel workers have launched an effort to compile information on how many county employes now commute to work from neighboring jurisdictions because they no longer can, or want to, afford the cost of living in Montgomery.

Approximately 6,000 county households now receive some form of federal assistance in meeting monthly mortgage or rental payments. s

Tom Brown, planning chief of the county Department of Housing and Community Development, said that more than 20 federal, state or county housing programs are available to Montgomery County residents. But, he said, "Everyone agrees that the demand for assisted housing is far greater than the rate (at which) it's now supplied."

As an example, Brown cited the program which has made available about 400 moderately priced units for sale to county residents in the past six years, some of them houses in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. The waiting list, however, stretches into the thousands.