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Frequently Asked Questions About the LEGACY Bill

What is the LEGACY bill?
The LEGACY bill is a piece of legislation designed to help with the housing needs of grandparents and other relatives raising children.

Why is the bill called LEGACY?
LEGACY stands for Living Equitably: Grandparents Aiding Children and Youth. The LEGACY bill was named after the powerful, Academy Award nominated film, LEGACY, that tells the inspiring story of the Collins family who overcome four generations of being trapped in poverty in one of America’s oldest and most dangerous public housing projects in Chicago. Through a tragic loss, the consistent support of a strong grandmother who helps raise several grandchildren, and a gift from an anonymous donor, the family is able to break free of welfare, overcome addiction, and escape the specter of violence in their community. The film raises many issues including the often inadequate conditions for grandparent- and other relative-headed families living in public housing. The LEGACY film and feedback from groups using the film in outreach efforts, stimulated Generations United (GU) and our national partners to take action on issues related to the housing needs of grandparents and other relatives raising children and to ultimately develop the LEGACY bill.

What is the status of the LEGACY bill?
The LEGACY bill (H.R. 4033) was introduced on March 20th, 2002 in the House of Representatives by Representatives Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Connie Morella (R-MD). A Senate companion bill (S. 2592) was introduced on June 5th, 2002 by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mike Dewine (R-OH), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Sponsors of both bills are seeking additional co-sponsors.

Last year the LEGACY bill was introduced to provide safe and affordable housing for grandparents and other relatives raising children. The bill gained momentum in both the Senate and the House. Provisions of the bill were even included in a larger omnibus housing bill in the House that was expected to pass. Unfortunately, LEGACY and the omnibus housing bill, like many other bills for domestic projects were stalled as Congress focused on Homeland Security issues and the pending war with Iraq. LEGACY did not pass despite bi-partisan support.

We are pleased that the LEGACY bill was introduced on February 12th in the Senate. The bill, S. 381 has 5 original co-sponsors, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mike Dewine (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Breaux (D-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME). Generations United will be working with these Senators to secure additional support for the bill. A companion LEGACY bill will be introduced in the House soon. For more information on the LEGACY bill visit www.gu.org. To learn how to contact your Senator or Representative to tell them you support the bill, contact the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

What will the LEGACY bill do?
The LEGACY bill will include provisions in the following areas:

  • Create national demonstration projects that provide opportunities within HUD’s Section 202 and Section 8 programs to develop housing specifically for grandparents and other relatives raising children.
  • Provide training and education for front line workers who, through no fault of their own, may be misinterpreting policies that affect the families. Training will clarify that grandparents raising children are not required to have legal custody of children to qualify for certain government assisted housing programs.
  • Clarify that grandparents raising children qualify for the Section 8 Family Unification Program.
  • Provide assistance to grandparents, who own and live in small homes, to build additional bedrooms to accommodate grandchildren who have unexpectedly come into their care.

What can I do to help support the LEGACY bill?

  • Stay informed about the issue by visiting the GU website at www.gu.org for regular updates on this and other intergenerational legislation or emailing gu@gu.org with questions.
  • Contact your Representative and ask him or her to support H.R. 4033.
  • Contact your Senator and ask him or her to support S. 2592.
  • Contact GU at gu@gu.org or 202-638-1263 if you would like to be a contact person in your state to be a leader of an email action alert network when grassroots action is needed.

For information about how to contact your Senator or Representative and information about other legislation affecting grandparents and other relatives raising children visit http://www.gu.org/.

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