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April 11, 2014 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

As tuition increases, so does hunger on campus

HUNGER | As the price of college (and related costs, like housing) rise, more students are having trouble affording food, particularly those who are from low-income families or are first-generation college students. Many colleges are starting food banks to serve students otherwise going hungry (WaPo, 4/10):

At the same time that higher education is seen as key to financial security, tuition and living expenses are rising astronomically, making it all the more tempting for students to cut corners on food.

“Between paying rent, paying utilities and then trying to buy food, that’s where we see the most insecurity because that’s the most flexible,” said Monica Gray, director of programs at the College Success Foundation-District of Columbia, which helps low-income high school students go to college.

As campuses look for solutions, the number of university food pantries has shot up, from four in 2008 to 121 today, according to the Michigan State University Student Food Bank, which has advised other campuses on starting them. Trinity Washington University in the District opened one in September, and the University of Maryland at College Park is looking into opening one.

HOUSING
– D.C. wants to buy a lot of land next to the Anacostia metro station to develop it for affordable housing. (WBJ, 4/9)

– Here’s a great write-up of a recent successful effort to purchase an apartment building in Columbia Heights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act – the program that helps tenants purchase their properties when landlords put them up for sale. (WAMU, 3/28)

HOMELESSNESS
Post columnist Petula Dvorak writes about the need for a safe playspace for children at D.C. General and calls on the city to get moving on building it – especially since there is already community approval and funding available for it (including financial support from Pepco). (WaPo, 4/10)

– Although Mayor Gray says he wants to close the homeless shelter at D.C. General, he says NIMBYism will make it difficult to create smaller shelters throughout the city. (WaPo, 4/9)

CHILDREN & YOUTH | Advocates led by the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates are drafting a bill that would address sex trafficking in the District. (DCist, 4/10)

ARTS/TRANSIT | Fairfax County considers turning the Silver Line into a massive public art project (WaPo, 4/9). Yes, please! This is such a great idea I won’t even make a snarky comment about the silver line.

WORKFORCE 
– I don’t even know how to categorize this piece since its implications are so cross-cutting: day care costs more than college in 31 states. This has a lot to do with why so many women are staying home rather than returning to work after they have a baby, as a Pew study released earlier this week reported. (WaPo, 4/9)

– The region’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly last month. (WBJ, 4/10)


Even if you’re tired of cherry blossom photos (or, at least, tourists), you should check these pictures out, just for the awesome outfits.

– Rebekah

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