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Housing for Grandparenting

Championed and designed by grandparents, Las Abuelitas Family Housing is a small, affordable "kinship care" community that addresses the multigenerational needs of its residents

Three women and two young boys gather in the courtyard of the Las Abulelitas Family Housing community

Photo courtesy Poster Frost Mirto

Intergenerational activities and a safe place to play were among the top requests from Las Abuelitas’ founding grandparents. The outdoor community spaces include a playground, basketball court and common greenspace. Each household also has its own plot in the community garden.

Championed and designed by grandparents, Las Abuelitas Family Housing is a small, ADA-accessible and affordable housing community that addresses the multigenerational needs of its residents. 

Family Matters

Kinship care is the full-time care and nurturing of a child by a nonparent relative or someone who has a significant emotional relationship with the child.

This pioneering kinship-care housing project began in 2012 when the Tucson-based Primavera Foundation met with a group of grandparents raising their grandchildren through foster care or adoption. The caregivers shared their vision for a safe place where they could collectively provide childcare and assist one another.

In later meetings, the group detailed specific requests, including homes with an open kitchen and dining area, some private, enclosed outdoor space, a large community room and a “hang out” space for older kids. Having a strong resident council and programming for all ages were also deemed critical to the plan.

Poster Frost Mirto, the architecture firm responsible for the design of Las Abuelitas (a Spanish endearment meaning “grandmothers”), delivered on those requests and created a model of sustainable design and efficiency. Several of the units qualify as “net zero,” meaning they produce as much energy through renewable resources as they consume.

This article is adapted from Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, a publication by AARP and the National Building Museum. Download or order your free copy. (Read more about "intentional housing" communities.)

Page published April 2019

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