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January 7, 2014 / Christian Clansky

Region scrambles to help homeless during Polar Vortex

HOMELESSNESS | The Polar Vortex has gripped its icy fingers around our region. We’re all fortunate enough to have a warm place to avoid it, but our homeless population doesn’t have the same sense of security. Despite the fact that shelters are filled to capacity, local jurisdictions are finding new ways to accommodate need. (WaPo, 1/7)

The problems return, of course, when the temporary measures are lifted.

YOUTH/WORKFORCE | Opinion: City Year’s local executive director, Jeff Franco, writes about how volunteerism can help curb the nation’s unemployment problem for young people. Here’s a particularly interesting stat (WaPo, 1/7):

By engaging in volunteerism, unemployed individuals without high school diplomas increase their odds of employment by an astounding 51 percent.

EQUITY | Opinion: Greater Greater Washington linked to an interesting opinion in the Vancouver Sun about mixed-income neighborhoods (translated from “neighbourhoods”). The gist of the piece, which is written by a group of academics, is that these neighborhoods don’t always work well, and instead frequently hurt the groups they are designed to help. (VS, 1/7)

WORKFORCE | The Atlantic highlights research about the minimum wage that says a federal increase to $10.10 an hour could lift up to 4.6 million U.S. citizens out of poverty. (Atlantic, 1/7)

FOOD | Bread for the City and the USDA are teaming up to bring attention to the importance of food assistance programs, particularly during these winter months.

HOUSING | Opinion: A senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute says that the housing bubble is back.(NYT, 1/6) Hey-la, day-la, the bubble’s back. Ugh.

NONPROFIT | Who are the rising stars in the nonprofit sector? The Chronicle lists eight – and you probably know three of them! Our 2013 annual meeting speaker, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Emmett Carson, made the list. So did the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s La June Montgomery Tabron, who recently met with WRAG members. And, Michael Smith, formerly of the Case Foundation, is recognized for leadership of the Social Innovation Fund. (Chronicle, 1/7)

LOCAL | As DC grows, Anacostia gets left behind (GGW, 1/6)

TRANSIT | Metro has unveiled its new 7000 car series, which the transit agency says will hit tracks this year. Rest assured, the new fleet has removed all of the nice things that make Metro cars unique and replaced them with cold sterility. (GGW, 1/6)

Well folks, I’d love to say that I’m happy to be back…but my fingers are too cold to type it. Just kidding, I’m happy to be back. Hope you all enjoyed the holidays.

So, here’s something interesting. The term “Polar Vortex,” with its apocalyptic qualities, almost sounds made up by the media. It’s not, but it also doesn’t seem to have ever been a subject of mainstream news. I ran a Google news search for the term from December 1970 to December 2013. Nada!

If you are somebody who actually enjoys this weather, then here’s a tip for how to use it to make your own slurpees.  – Christian

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