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McGovern, Pressley Reintroduce Bill to Provide Critical Support for Grandparent-Led Households

Legislation Helps Grandparents Raising a Grandchild access safe, affordable, age-appropriate Housing

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Washington, May 11, 2021 | comments

WASHINGTON – Today, Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (MA-02) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) reintroduced the Grandfamily Housing Act, a bill to create a new, nationwide pilot program to provide funding to help grandparents raising their grandchildren access safe, affordable and appropriate housing.

McGovern and Pressley began working together on the issue in 2019, holding a roundtable in Worcester, Mass. where they heard directly from grandparents about the specific challenges they face when raising a grandchild. Frequently, grandparents are financially unprepared to care for a grandchild. They often have difficulty accessing school or medical records of their grandchildren. Additionally, grandparent-led households regularly lack adequate and age-appropriate housing. The Grandfamily Housing Act builds on many of the concerns that McGovern and Pressley heard at the roundtable.

“There are millions of grandparent-led households across the country that face unique challenges such as delaying retirement, accessing their grandchild’s medical records, and securing age-appropriate housing,” said Congressman McGovern. “Grandparents often take on this role unexpectedly—providing love, support, and stability, especially for children experiencing trauma. But the bottom line is that the resources that are available to parents often aren’t there for grandparents. Our bill takes the first step towards creating a more equitable environment for multigenerational families by establishing a new nationwide pilot program to modify appropriate housing and fund residential coordinators to help grandparents navigate the complexities of raising a grandchild. Every child in our country deserves to grow in a safe, loving environment that allows them to live up to their full potential, and that’s what our bill is all about.”

“For too long, our society has failed to recognize the contributions of grandparents raising grandchildren and provide them with the resources and support they need,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “Our bill would help change that by ensuring that grandfamilies have a safe, affordable, and age-appropriate place to call home, and receive the resources they need to navigate the complexities of raising a grandchild. I’m grateful to Congressman McGovern for his partnership on a bill to uplift our grandfamilies and affirm their right to thrive in community.”

The Grandfamily Housing Act establishes a new nationwide pilot program to modify appropriate housing and fund residential coordinators to help grandparents navigate the complexities of raising a grandchild. Specifically, the bill helps nonprofits and local housing authorities provide a safe living space for grandfamilies; helps housing providers employ a Grandfamily Resident Service Coordinator; builds a stable environment for grandchildren; and finances the upkeep of grandfamily housing and communal spaces.

McGovern and Pressley’s bill is endorsed by three major national advocacy groups that support grandparents raising grandchildren: The National Council on Aging, Generations United, and LeadingAge.

“Grandfamily caregivers grapple with unique and pressing issues that this bill would address by providing greatly needed support including funds for staffing, services, facilities, community outreach and other services. Thanks to the leadership of Congressman McGovern and Congresswoman Pressley, grandparents and other older relatives caring full-time for a relative child will get some welcome relief,” said LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan. “LeadingAge’s 6,000 mission-driven member organizations are always ready to do more to help this community and believe this bill takes a big step forward in achieving that goal.”

“The National Council on Aging commends Representative McGovern for his continued leadership to address the urgent housing needs of grandfamilies,” said National Council on Aging President and CEO Ramsey Alwin. “The legislation will support innovations that will reinforce a part of the crucial safety net that is out of reach for too many grandparents raising grandchildren.” 

“Grandfamilies face unique housing challenges.  These families frequently come together at a moment's notice, often with a call in the middle of the night.  Children may be prohibited from their caregiver's existing housing or it may not be adequate,” said Ana Beltran, Co-Director of Generations United's National Center on Grandfamilies. “This legislation is a critical step in providing more grandfamilies with affordable housing opportunities that include vital supportive services for the caregivers and children.”

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