Unfinished Business

Civil Rights News: U.S. Census to Start Using Internet Surveys; Hiring of Autistic Employees Increasing; Obama Admin. Making Gains Against Homelessness

Census to Offer Internet Option in Gov’t Surveys

Hope Yen
Associated Press

Touting the potential for cost savings, the U.S. Census Bureau has announced plans to start using Internet-based forms to supplement the traditional mail-in surveys it uses to collect information about the U.S. population. Civil rights leaders however have raised concerns about the need to ensure that a shift to Internet-based surveys does not lead to exclusion.  “An Internet option cannot come at the expense of reaching hard-to-count communities. Because of disparities in Internet access, this is no silver bullet to increasing response rates and could make racial and language minorities, as well as rural residents, even harder to count than they are now,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of various civil rights groups.

On the Job: Autistic Excel at Detail, Repetition

Anita Bruzzese

A highly visible generation of young Americans who have an Autism-spectrum disorder are reaching working age, and employers are learning to embrace the skills this population can bring to the job.  As USA Today reports, “These employers are making employment inclusive and don’t isolate autistic workers or give them only limited tasks.”

How to Fight Homelessness

The New York Times

New York Times editorial commends the Obama administration’s focus on reducing homelessness, especially among veterans and those facing chronic housing troubles .  The Times points to data showing that the number of homeless veterans declined by more than 17 percent between January 2009 and January of this year and by more than 19 percent between 2007 and 2012 for the chronically homeless. The editorial calls on for the expansion of “rental assistance programs that could help these at-risk families find permanent housing before their only choice is between the streets and temporary shelter.”