State Sen. Joe Pennacchio Bill Asks for Research on Multigenerational Households

Under legislation proposed by State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-26), New Jersey would establish the Multigenerational Family Housing Continuity Commission to research, obtain public input and adopt recommendations on how to advance the goal of enhancing multigenerational family housing opportunities.

The commission would be made up of seven public members, in addition to the commissioner of Community Affairs and the commissioner of Human Service, or designees, as nonvoting members. The commission would submit annual reports to the governor and legislature.

“If children want to keep their parents close by, we should be making that possible,” Pennacchio reasoned.

Responding to the ‘Catastrophe’

Pennacchio argued the coronavirus pandemic had shown to the issues plaguing nursing homes, and argued families should options to the industry. The coronavirus claimed almost 7,000 people living in nursing homes during the pandemic to-date, showcasing the need for alternatives.

The state senator said the situation was “deplorable” and previously called for investigations into the issues that contributed to the deaths. He said multigenerational housing could be among new solutions to prevent the widespread loss of life again.

“If they were given the chance to live with loved ones, this may not have happened,” he said of the deaths.

Benefits for Seniors and Families

Pennacchio said multigenerational housing was a boon to the elderly and the family at large. He argued many seniors struggle to handle upkeep on properties, and that property taxes often put them in a poor position.

This often caused them to move out of state, or to sign themselves into long-term care facilities. Pennacchio argued that local housing rules often made it difficult or impossible for parents to remain with their children.

“For many families, everybody benefits when generations reside together, and we want to encourage healthy, cost-effective alternatives to make that possible,” he said.

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