GRAND Magazine - November/December 2019 - 35

grandfamilies

Finding a home
BY ANA BELTRAN AND JAIA LENT

A

fter taking on the responsibility of raising her granddaughter, Magdalena discovered her rental home had extremely
high lead levels. Rather than mitigating the
lead, the landlord chose to evict the new
grandfamily, relying on a provision in the lease
agreement that they only rent to adults. Three
weeks before Christmas during an epic snowstorm, Magdalena found herself searching for a
lead-free rental so that the child welfare agency
would not remove her granddaughter from her
care.
Across the United States, more than 2.65 million children live in grandfamilies - families in
which grandparents, other adult family members, and close family friends are raising children
because their parents cannot. These families
frequently come together at a moment's notice,
often with a call in the middle of the night from a
parent, the police or a child welfare agency telling
them they must take the children or they will end up
in foster care with strangers. Parental death, substance
use or incarceration are common reasons that cause
grandfamilies to come together. Since these difficult
and traumatic situations typically do not come with
planning time, the housing challenges grandfamilies
face are unique. In an instant, the home of the new
grandfamily caregiver can become inadequate for
their suddenly expanded household.

35 GRAND

Nov-Dec 2019

Changes like these would go a
long way to help grandfamilies
like Magdalena's get to spend their
holiday season worrying about
what to put under the tree, instead
of worrying about finding a safe
place for her and her grandchild
to call home.

Older adults who are retired and living in
small apartments can find themselves raising
related children and unable to get additional
space for them. Depending on where the
grandfamilies live and whether the caregivers have legal custody of the children, local
housing authorities may not recognize them
as families for subsidized housing eligibility.
They may also not qualify for priority housing vouchers that other families can get if the
children are at risk of entering foster care.
Even worse than inadequate space, caregivers may be renting homes through private
lease agreements that prohibit children from
living there. Evictions are all too common
and can happen at very difficult times, as Magdalena
and her granddaughter well know.

Click here to continue reading
Ana Beltran is a special advisor, Generations United.
She is an attorney who served as the Director of the
National Center on Grandfamilies. As someone who
was raised in part by her grandmother, Ana has a
personal commitment to the families.
Jaia Peterson Lent is Deputy Executive Director
of Generations United, a national organization
dedicated to improving lives. Home to the
National Center on Grandfamilies, Generations
United is a leading voice for issues affecting
families headed by grandparents or other relatives.


https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine https://www.grandmagazine.com/2019/10/finding-a-home/ http://www.gu.org http://www.programsforelderly.com/caregiver-generations-united-national-center-on-grandfamilies.php

GRAND Magazine - November/December 2019

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