PHA Receives Grant from William Penn Foundation to Improve and Expand Services for Grandparents who are Raising Grandchildren 

PHA Receives Grant from William Penn Foundation to Improve and Expand Services for Grandparents who are Raising Grandchildren

(Philadelphia, PA – September 7, 2022)

 The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) has received a $385,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation to improve and expand services that support Philadelphia “grandfamilies” – families in which  grandparents or other older adult kin are the primary caregivers for young children. 

PHA plans to hire a kinship coordinator to offer services and oversee case management for PHA’s grandfamily households with children ages 0-18, and for households where a disabled adult child lives with a grandparent. Dedicated supports for these families will be woven into the fabric of PHA’s Resident Programs and Partnerships team, which simultaneously delivers services, workshops and programs for youth and seniors. 

“More than 220 of the grandparents currently living in PHA housing are raising their grandchildren,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, President and CEO of PHA. “This grant makes it possible for us to consider and meet their unique needs. The children in these homes may face physical, mental and health challenges that require supportive services. With this grant, we can hire a knowledgeable coordinator to work with them and assist them in acquiring these services.” 

In Philadelphia, more than 17,000 grandchildren are estimated to live in homes where grandparents provide their primary care. There are many reasons why young children may be raised by grandparents or family members other than their parents. Grandfamilies can result from biological parents’ challenges that include death, divorce, substance use, incarceration, job loss, and illness. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the needs of existing grandfamilies and created new ones. 

Research shows that when grandfamilies receive the supports they need, children raised by grandparents or other relatives thrive despite the potential to face multiple challenges. Compared to children in foster care with non-relatives, children living with relatives have more stability, better behavioral and mental health outcomes, and are more likely to stay connected to siblings, other family, and cultural identity, according to Generations United, a policy, research, technical assistance, and advocacy organization dedicated to 

improving the lives of intergenerational families. In 2020, Generations United, with funding from William Penn Foundation, published the Grandfamilies of Philadelphia report, which noted a number of challenges facing grandfamilies, including insufficient financial resources to address basic needs; difficulty navigating agency and government services; navigating the school curriculum and virtual education; and legal hurdles to achieve child and family stability 

“In our mission to support Philadelphia children’s success, we seek to understand the strengths and challenges of families of all types, so that we can ensure they have what they need to help their children thrive,” said Jennifer Stavrakos, Interim Director of the Great Learning Program at the William Penn Foundation. “We are excited about this opportunity to build up the supports and services available to grandfamilies in Philadelphia. Through this initiative, more grandparents and kinship caregivers who are raising children will gain access to specific resources and tools from an organization they know and trust.” 

PHA, which, in addition to housing, offers residents supportive services, including programs for youth and seniors, is one of eight organizations who received a total of $2.8 million from the William Penn Foundation to support grandfamilies. The grantees include small, grassroots organizations as well as large multi-service agencies. The grants will fund a range of supportive services for grandfamilies, including case management, resources and referrals, peer support groups, outreach and education, and emergency funding for basic needs. Collectively, more than 1,500 grandfamilies will receive services through this initiative annually. Read more about the Foundation’s grandfamilies initiative here. 

As part of the initiative, William Penn Foundation awarded a grant to Generations United to convene a learning community and provide technical assistance among the grantees and other Philadelphia kinship support organizations. Child Trends also received a grant to develop an evaluation plan to assess the impact of the initiative. 

PHA Receives Grant from William Penn Foundation to Improve and Expand Services for Grandparents who are Raising Grandchildren