Congressman Capuano Introduces Legislation to Help Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren

June 26, 2003 -- Congressman Mike Capuano (D-MA) introduced legislation that will help address the growing need for affordable housing for grandparents raising their grandchildren.

"Grandparents on fixed incomes across the country are taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Suddenly, these grandparents find themselves faced not only with the rising cost of prescription drugs, but with the rising cost of diapers, baby formula and school clothes. My legislation will help provide new affordable housing opportunities for these unique families," stated Congressman Capuano.

The LEGACY Act: Living Equitably, Grandparents Aiding Children and Youth, was inspired by the success of the Grandfamilies House in Dorchester, Massachusetts. This facility is currently the only housing development in the entire country specifically designed for intergenerational families. It offers apartments with special features for grandparents and children, including childproof kitchen cabinets and handicapped accessible bathrooms. Other services include an outdoor playground and a computer lab.

The LEGACY Act will build on the Grandfamilies House model to help organizations across the country build similar developments. Key components of the legislation include:

Congressman Capuano has worked with Generations United, Inc. an organization that advocates on behalf of intergenerational families. The legislation's title was inspired by an Academy Award nominated documentary film that chronicled the life of a grandmother raising her grandchildren. Generations United worked with the family featured in "Legacy" to highlight the many challenges facing grandparents raising grandchildren.

"We applaud Rep. Capuano for his tremendous leadership in support of these families," said Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United. "Grandparents do not plan to raise a second family. Their homes are seldom large enough for children. However, the reality is that it happens, and grandparents and other relatives raising children save taxpayers a minimum of $6.5 billion a year and provide a safety net for children who would otherwise end up in the foster care system."

According to recent data from the Census Bureau, the number of intergenerational families increased more than 50% between 1990 and 1998. It is estimated that more than 4 million children across America and now being raised by their grandparents.

"The LEGACY Act is a small step toward providing a safe, affordable place to live for these courageous grandparents as they raise the next generation of Americans," stated Congressman Capuano.


Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208