FYI: It's a catch-22 for kids whose families become homeless during the school year. A 2001 federal law sought to counter the stress homelessness puts on a child's education by exempting homeless families from a mandate that says kids must attend schools within the districts they live in--so that when a family lands in a faraway shelter their children don't have to transfer. But a new study by the Institute for Children and Poverty and Homes for the Homeless says the law has created a new problem for families in a city the size of New York: lengthy travel times to and from school. Thirty-four percent of the children surveyed spent more than an hour commuting to school. [2/7/03]