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Pennacchio Bill Encourages Multigenerational Households

Creates Commission to Study Options to Long-Term Nursing Facilities

Senator Joe Pennacchio today introduced legislation that will make it easier for extended families to reside together will multiple generations under one roof.

Legislation introduced by Senator Pennacchio would make it easier for multiple generations of the same family to reside under one roof. (©iStock)

“Families should have options to nursing homes,” said Pennacchio. “I have complained about the deplorable nightmare that is occurring in our senior facilities, and called for a Senate investigation into the issues that contributed to the loss of lives. At the same time, we must now seek solutions so it doesn’t happen again.”

The coronavirus claimed almost 7,000 souls in nursing homes during the pandemic.

“If they were given the chance to live with loved ones, this may not have happened. If children want to keep their parents close by, we should be making that possible,” Pennacchio reasoned. “The catastrophe taught us that we need alternatives.”

With a bill introduced today, Senator Pennacchio hopes they will have another option – living under one roof in multigenerational housing with their family members.

The legislation, S-2727, would establish the Multigenerational Family Housing Continuity Commission to research, obtain public input, and adopt recommendations on how to most effectively advance the goal of enhancing multigenerational family housing opportunities.

The goal is giving seniors the option of living with their extended families.  The commission would consist of seven public members, in addition to the commissioner of Community Affairs and the commissioner of Human Services, or their designees, as nonvoting members.

“For many families, everybody benefits when generations reside together, and we want to encourage healthy, cost-effective alternatives to make that possible. Keep families together will make it easier to make ends meet and live more comfortably and securely under the same roof with the addition of a mother-in-law suite that is often prohibited by local ordinances,” Pennacchio said.

Many seniors struggle with the upkeep on their home and New Jersey’s exorbitant property taxes, Pennacchio noted.  They end up leaving their families behind and moving out of state or signing into long-term care facilities.

“In communities across the state, local housing rules make it difficult or impossible for generations to reside together,” said Pennacchio. “Considering the astronomical cost of housing and taxes, local governments should work to make it easier for grandparents, parents and children to save money and build stronger family ties. Instead, rigid rules and regulations block the road, often leaving seniors with limited choices but to enter a facility.”

Under the bill, the commission must provide an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature, including an update on their findings and developments in multigenerational family housing.

“The commission would consider the merits of more sensible rules that could strengthen families and communities,” Senator Pennacchio said. “They will determine strategies to encourage local officials to work with families to keep them together, not split them apart.

“With the information provided by the commission, I am hopeful the Legislature will work to craft laws that benefit our most vulnerable citizens and their families.”



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