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December 17, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Who should be responsible for homeless teens? Depends on who you ask.

The District has laws that guarantee shelter for homeless adults and families on frigid nights. The city is severely lacking in its capacity to serve this population, so churches, recreation centers, and motels are used to meet the need. But while the city stretches to serve much of its most vulnerable population, it has drawn a controversial line (WaPo, 12/17):

In recent weeks, the Interagency Council on Homelessness voted down an amendment promoted by advocates to grant homeless youths ages 12 to 17 a legal right to shelter on nights when the temperature drops below freezing.

City Administrator Allen Lew said at the recent Interagency Council on Homelessness meeting that giving homeless teens a legal right to shelter would become an “unsustainable” burden for the District. And, D.C. leaders maintain, the shelter system shouldn’t be responsible for them. Others should be.

Related: In October, the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates (DCAYA) helped publish a report called A Bold Strategy to End Youth Homelessness in the District of Columbia. DCAYA and members of the Youth Homelessness Strategy Team are at the end of a big advocacy push for the report, which they plan to deliver with signatures of support to D.C. Council members tomorrow.

YOUTH
- As the Freddie Mac Foundation winds down its philanthropic activities, there have been questions about the future of its highly successful Wednesday’s Child program, which helps foster children find adoptive homes. Excellent news on that front: the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption will take over and fully fund the program beginning in January! (Yahoo, 12/16)

- At the Council of Governments’ annual meeting, Renette Oklewicz, Director of Foundation Programs for the Freddie Mac Foundation, received a special award acknowledging her leadership of the the Wednesday’s Child program. In particular, COG praised her success in ensuring its continuation. (MWCOG, 12/16)

- Venture Philanthropy Partners has announced that it is investing $3.2 million in the AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation to serve low-income preschoolers in the District. (VPP, 12/17)

PHILANTHROPY | This morning, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann will serve as its next CEO beginning next May. Desmond-Hellman is currently the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco. (Gates, 12/17)

EDUCATION
- As technology continues to progress (while the behavioral tendencies of kids apparently do not), Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr wrote an open letter to parents about online civility. The letter followed obscene tweets that he received while trying to decide about closing schools for snow last week. (WaPo, 12/13)

- Options D.C. charter school’s Medicaid billing is at center of investigation (WaPo, 12/16)

- Next year, DCPS and a number of charters will share a common application and common lottery. My School DC is a resource for the application process and related questions.

HEALTH | Much of What We Know About Public Health and Urban Planning Is Wrong (Atlantic, 12/17) I knew they were wrong when they said putting a Krispy Kreme on my commute route was dangerous! Well, I haven’t read the report, but I assume that’s what it says.


So, just how the heck did nicknames like Jack and Hank evolve from proper names like John and Henry? Here are the explanations. Some of them sound like they are made up, but they are better explanations than I have!

I was just down in New Orleans and that city sure knows how to decorate for Christmas. There were beautiful trees and lights everywhere. Now I’m officially in the holiday spirit! Time for some seasonal movies. Among my favorites are Love Actually, Home Alone, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, and, of course, the best Christmas movie of all time – Die Hard. What are your favorites?

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