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February 28, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Large homeless families have a harder time moving out of shelters, creating a bottleneck effect [News, 2.28.13]

HOMELESSNESS/HOUSING | The Post’s Annie Gowen dug deeper into recent news about how D.C. General is sheltering as many as 600 children. What she found is that large families with four or more children are “creating a bottleneck.” The shelters are designed to be temporary, but larger families have a harder time finding housing and end up staying for extended periods (WaPo, 2/28):

In the District, 18 percent of families living below the poverty level have one or two children, compared with 38 percent with three or four children and 67 percent with five children or more.

In combating this problem, Gowen notes that Fairfax County has successful models to emulate.

National youth incarceration rates since 1975.

JUVENILE JUSTICE | A new KIDS COUNT snapshot from the Casey Foundation shows a dramatic reduction in youth incarceration rates. Between 1997 and 2010, local rates dropped in D.C. (-26%), Maryland (-46%), and Virginia (-42%). (AECF, 2/28)

– With 15 schools slated to be closed, DCPS is launching a campaign aimed at persuading parents at these schools to keep their children enrolled in public schools rather than moving them to charters or private schools. (Examiner, 2/28)

– California-based Rocketship Education has been approved to open charter schools in the District. Their application was for eight schools. Two have been approved with up to six more being added based on performance. (Examiner, 2/28)

TECHQUITY | A huge gap in Internet access between “the rich and poor” is having consequences in the classroom. A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that students with Internet access are better equipped to do research needed for assignments. (WaPo, 2/28)

COMMUNITY | Congratulations to WRAG member IBM for winning the CECP’s 2013 Excellence Award in Corporate Philanthropy! The award recognizes a company’s commitment to the communities around them and the company’s exemplification of four rigorous standards of excellence: CEO leadership, partnership, dedication to measurement, and innovation.

NONPROFITS | Our friend Albert Ruesga – formerly of The Meyer Foundation and current head of the Greater New Orleans Foundation – has a thought provoking perspective on the state of philanthropy (Chronicle, 2/25):

[W]hat’s dragging down philanthropy isn’t the threat to the charitable deduction, the slow economy, or the excise tax. Rather, it’s that nonprofit leaders tend to be, well, too nice.

TRANSIT/HEALTH | Many riders on Metro’s 80 bus to hospital appointments in NE frequently left waiting (WaPo, 2/27)

MENTAL HEALTH | A major new report finds that five mental illnesses – autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia – are genetically related in previously unrecognized ways. (WTOP, 2/28)

Last week, a trip around Mars sounded like science fiction. Then yesterday, Dennis Tito unveiled an actual plan to send a couple around the Red Planet and back in just five years. Though this is only a plan at the moment, scientists say that the trip is quite feasible, just expensive. My cynical generation needs something to inspire our imaginations. This could be it!

This, on the other hand, most certainly could not be it.

– Christian

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