Approximately 3 million U.S. children live with a grandparent who is their primary caregiver. Subsidized housing intended to serve grandfamilies has been developed in at least 14 states, however the evidence base for this type of housing is limited. Drawing on Morris and Winter’s 1996 Housing Adjustment Theory, this study examined how subsidized grandfamily housing influences grandparent caregivers’ quality of life through its effects on housing constraints, residential satisfaction, and family well-being. Interviews with 15 grandfamily housing staff members and key partners and focus groups and surveys with 29 grandparent residents were conducted at three sites: Kansas City, MO; Bronx, NY; and Phoenix, AZ. Results indicate that subsidized grandfamily housing programs aid households in meetings housing norms, but some families still struggle to make ends meet; that grandfamilies appear to benefit from living with like households; that lack of child custody and very-low income may present barriers to participation in subsidized grandfamily housing; that neighborhoods appear to play an important role in the success of subsidized grandfamily housing; that several challenges associated with supportive service delivery exist; that changes to security, accessibility features, building policies and utilization of outdoor space may improve residential satisfaction; and that grandchildren may continue to live with grandparent caregivers into adulthood. Study findings hold important implications for the design of future subsidized grandfamily housing, including management policies and supportive services. Recommendations for practice and suggestions for future research, including measurement of long-term housing needs and outcomes for grandfamilies, are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.December 2016. Major: Design, Housing and Apparel. Advisor: Marilyn Bruin. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 192 pages.
An Exploration of Subsidized Grandfamily Housing in the United States: What Works.
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