This is an excerpt from an article first published on WXII News. Read the full article here.
A year ago, Vorng Thep’s parents lived in an apartment they couldn’t afford, in an area at least 15 minutes from their closest adult child.
As a couple in their 80s, they increasingly needed more care when it came to cooking, cleaning and transportation to appointments. Apartments like theirs in San Jose, California, cost between $1,800 and $3,000 a month, and leasing at an assisted living facility or buying a small home closer to their children was even more expensive.
But thanks to recent changes in California state law, the family had an unconventional option that started with an empty garage.
Between 2017 and 2019, California passed a series of laws that legalized accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, in all California cities, and removed most barriers to their development. Other states and communities, including Rochester, are weighing doing the same.
Often called “granny units” or “granny flats,” ADUs are an accessible, lower-cost housing option for older parents or relatives who want to live near adult children and their families, and may require more day-to-day care than their loved ones can provide from a distance. They are also used to house college students or renters, or to create an extra work or play space for families.