Is there a link between housing vouchers and crime?

Do housing vouchers lead to higher crime rates? Many moons ago, in the 1990s, the government shifted policy away from concentrated housing projects and toward vouchers. One theory argued that dispersing poverty would also disperse crime into the community, while the projects were easier to police. Another theory said that the concentrated poverty of housing projects creates environments for incubating crime.

The Atlantic digs into a decade of research and finds that the second theory appears to be better supported. The researcher, UCLA professor Michael Lens, also adds a useful anecdote (Atlantic, 8/5):

The main thing is that a very small percentage of poor people commit any sort of crimes at all. So the idea that the random five or 10 low-income households that might move into your large neighborhood are going to impact your life in a negative way is fairly unlikely.

TRANSIT | Sometime today, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to announce the go-ahead for the $2.2 billion Purple Line. The 21-station line would connect Montgomery and Prince George’s County. It would be built and operated by a private firm, so it might actually function well. (WaPo, 8/5)

I will never understand project budgeting. It costs $2.2 billion for an entire light rail line. But a single bridge in D.C. costs nearly half of that?

Related: Montgomery nervous about density around Purple Line stops (GGW, 8/1)

HEALTH | Through a partnership between The Community Foundation’s Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative and Holy Cross Hospital, hospital employees can enroll in School at Work – a professional development program that teaches skills in communications, general education, healthcare, organizational performance, and patient satisfaction. The program just graduated its third cohort, and the foundation reflects on the model’s success. (CFNCR, 8/2)

– The job rate for older workers is ticking up slowly, but surely. (AARP, 7/31)

The Uneven Geography of America’s Fast Food Jobs (Atlantic, 8/1)

GIVING | A new report from the Council on Foundations and CF Insights finds that community foundations are posting records numbers. The vast majority are now worth more than they were before the recession hit. (Chronicle, 8/5)

EDUCATION | The seven District schools that posted the highest test scores all have longer than average school days. Would extending hours at other schools yield the same results? (WAMU, 8/5)

YOUTH | A Simple, Powerful Service for Young Children: Home Visiting (HuffPo, 8/2)

PHILANTHROPY | Here’s a neat primer on how Andrew Carnegie built our nation’s public library system, including an initial $300,000 investment in D.C.’s oldest library (which is now the Historical Society of D.C.’s building). (WAMU, 8/1)

If you looked at a TV, computer, or newspaper over the weekend, you were probably sufficiently alarmed by the worldwide warning that some scumbag subhumans are plotting a big terrorist attack. It’s not a comforting thing to have on the mind.

So, to clear your mind, check out this now-viral graduation speech about kindness from George Saunders. It’s quite touching, very funny, and perfectly appropriate for the modern world.

Also, you might enjoy a tour of the Airbus A380, which is basically a flying hotel!