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Many Grandparents Who Care For Grandchildren Struggle To Make Ends Meet

— Grandparents who raise their grandchildren may be among the most economically vulnerable people in California – a new report reveals the state's high cost of living puts these older adults in a tough spot.

Many grandparents in California who have custody of their grandchildren don't have the income to meet their basic needs, according to a new report from UCLA.

Shearl Lambert of San Diego, and her husband are bringing up three grandchildren ages 10, 14 and 15. Lambert also still has a job.

"Well, it's very tough, because we actually don't make ends meet," Lambert said. "We just barely make it. You know, we just – by the grace of God, you know – we just barely make it. It's a struggle every day."

The Lamberts are among the more than 300,000 Californians who raise their grandchildren. New research from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research indicates the task is challenging. More than half of those grandparents over the age of 65 don't have enough income to meet the most basic needs of their grandchildren, the report showed.

UCLA's Dr. Steven Wallace co-wrote the report. He said the federal government estimates the cost of living for a family of three is $18,500.

"Now in San Diego, between the cost of housing, and then you add in food, healthcare for the seniors – we calculate you need closer to $40,000 to have a basic standard of living," Wallace pointed out.

While there are public assistance programs available, each one has different rules and regulations. Wallace suggested these programs should have a single point of entry and said communities need to improve access to affordable housing designed for seniors with children.

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