Family homelessness sharply up from a year ago, which is especially problematic when winter storms strike

Extreme weather conditions give us an opportunity to confront an uncomfortable fact: family homelessness is still a major problem in our region. The Post followed a group of families as they tried to find shelter from the snow storm. It wasn’t an easy task, considering that resources are already stretched too thin and family homelessness is getting worse (WaPo, 1/22):

In the first few months of this cold season, the number of families that have gone to Virginia Williams because they are homeless or on the brink of homelessness has increased 30 percent from this time last year, said Michele Williams, chief of systems integration for the nonprofit Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness.

“In the past few years, we’ve lost hundreds and thousands of affordable housing units. And this is what you see as a result,” Williams said. ‘People are getting displaced.”

WRAG | With the holidays and the long weekend behind us, it’s time to settle in and focus on the year ahead. So, what can you expect from WRAG in 2014? Check out Tamara’s latest blog post to find out! (Daily, 1/22)

YOUTH/HUNGER | Tying in to the upcoming State of the Union address, Share Our Strength’s Billy Shore has published a piece on the State of Childhood Hunger. Things aren’t good (SOS, 1/21):

Childhood hunger continues to be a scourge in this nation, robbing millions of children of the potential to have a successful future. According to Children’s Health Watch, children continue to be hit by poverty harder than any other age group in the country, and there are 2.75 million more kids living in poverty than there were before the 2007 recession. As a result, today, more than 16 million children live in families who are having a tough time putting enough food on the table.

When children miss meals, they’re also missing out on the opportunities that can lead to academic achievement, job readiness, good health and economic stability in their futures.

WORKFORCE | Despite the fact that a college degree is becoming more and more (and more) expensive, its value seems to be decreasing. The number of “college grads in dead-end jobs” is on the rise. On the flip side, the number of good jobs for non-college grads is decreasing. (Atlantic, 1/22)

ARTS | The Cultural Data Project (CDP) released a report about the challenges facing current efforts to increase the arts and culture sector’s effective use of data. The report also outlines recommendations for ways the sector can promote the use of data. (CDP, 1/14)

Related: WRAG is part of a task force, along with a number of WRAG members, that launched the CDP in DC. In 2011, Michael Bigley of the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, wrote about why the CDP, and cultural data more broadly, is of significant value to the region’s arts sector. (Daily, Oct. 2011)

Ahoy, folks. It’s been a few days! Hope you all enjoyed the extra-long weekend (even if teleworking has diminished the fun of snow days). Buzzfeed posted a fairly accurate photoblog about what we do when it snows. Ignore the final photo about Virginia. They got snow, too, so who knows why it’s included?

Also, I just rediscovered a really great album – Streetcore from Joe Strummer, former lead man of The Clash. It’s a phenomenal album through and through, but the song Get Down Moses has been stuck in my head for the past two weeks. Stay warm out there!