December 9, 2003
Congress passed S. 811, the American Dream Downpayment Act by unanimous consent on Monday, December 8, 2003. The bill includes several key provisions from the LEGACY Act, which was introduced by Congressman Mike Capuano earlier this year. The provisions will help address the growing need for affordable housing for grandparents raising their grandchildren.
"I am extremely pleased that Congress has passed these LEGACY Act provisions. Grandparents on fixed incomes across the nation are taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. They are not only concerned with the rising costs of prescription drugs, but with the cost of diapers, baby formula and school supplies. The LEGACY Act is a step forward to update our national housing policy to recognize these families," said Congressman Capuano.
Building on the success of Boston's Grandfamilies House, the first housing development in the country specifically designed for grandparent-headed families, the LEGACY Act provisions that Congress approved today will help advocates in other areas replicate this model. Specifically, the legislation creates a nationwide demonstration program within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 202 elderly housing program to develop intergenerational housing. In addition, the bill provides specialized training to HUD personnel focused on grandparent- and other relative-headed families and requires the Department to conduct a study on the housing needs of these unique families.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 2 million children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives. Many of these children have parents who have died, are in prison, or are struggling with drug or alcohol addictions, while others have been taken out of abusive homes. These intergenerational families live in rural areas, inner cities, and suburbs. They come from all races and ethnicities, and live in every state in the nation. Many of these grandparents live on fixed incomes, and must not only deal with the rising cost of prescription drugs, but with the cost of diapers, baby clothes, toys, and school supplies.
"These courageous grandparents have taken on the great responsibility of raising their grandchildren at a time when most seniors are enjoying retirement. The LEGACY Act will help create opportunities for a safe, affordable place to live as they raise the next generation of Americans," said Congressman Capuano.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208