A REPLICABLE FRAMEWORK

Treehouse Intergenerational
Community Model

The Treehouse Model is the framework for an intentional, affordable-housing neighborhood designed to provide healing and permanency for kids who have experienced foster care. It also provides vital aging for older people and support for youth who have aged out of foster care.

Proven and honed over 21 years

A shared commitment

In a Treehouse Community, children who have been in foster care thrive in an entire neighborhood dedicated to their well-being, families support each other, and older adults find new purpose as “honorary grandparents.” It’s a village with a shared mission and one where every resident is deeply committed.

Integrating four generations

The Treehouse Model promotes interaction between generations and celebrates intergenerational living. The programs, activities, and physical spaces — like the community kitchen, multipurpose rooms, library, and even mailboxes — encourage encounters with neighbors of all ages.

A culture of collaboration

Partnerships include local schools, colleges and universities, cultural organizations, child welfare organizations, key legislators and the community at large. By working with regional organizations and individuals we also increase awareness of the issues and promote activism and engagement.

Enhanced programming for all residents

All community members have the opportunity to join in both group and age-appropriate activities designed to bring residents together. Community meals and celebrations are a part of daily life, and children receive customized programs to address their evolving needs. 

Who Benefits from a Treehouse Community?

child and adult walking backlit by sun, Easthampton, MA Treehouse community

Children who have been in foster care

Permanency and a caring community

For children traumatized by time spent in child welfare, a neighborhood of trusted, caring adults of all ages is the ideal setting to heal and grow. An entire ecosystem dedicated to their well-being allows the kids to just be kids, often for the first time in their young lives. The Treehouse Intergenerational Model is proven to dramatically improve life outcomes for children with child welfare involvement — the rates of juvenile justice intervention, teen parenthood, school dropouts and homelessness are a fraction of those for young adults who have not had the benefit of Treehouse.

Families Benefit

It really does take a village

Surrounded by a neighborhood of supportive adults, Treehouse families — birth, foster/adoptive, kinship, and grandparents raising grandchildren — thrive. It’s impossible to underestimate the benefits of having caring, involved neighbors, older people who mentor and guide, and on-site staff to help navigate the challenges of raising children who have been through child welfare.

5 family members at Treehouse Easthampton
5 family members at Treehouse Easthampton

Families Benefit

It really does take a village

Surrounded by a neighborhood of supportive adults, Treehouse families — birth, foster/adoptive, kinship, and grandparents raising grandchildren — thrive. It’s impossible to underestimate the benefits of having caring, involved neighbors, older people who mentor and guide, and on-site staff to help navigate the challenges of raising children who have been through child welfare.

Older Adults Benefit

Purposeful aging

The title “honorary grandparent” provides older adults at Treehouse with a third chapter rich in giving back. Older residents aren’t age-segregated, they’re actively involved in the lives of the other community members, who rely on them to share their wisdom and talents. They mentor, teach piano, help with homework, pick the kids up from the bus — and feel a sense of belonging and renewed purpose.

“I never expected to be needed, valued, loved, and supported so beautifully when I reached my 80’s. Treehouse has changed my life. Every older American should have the opportunity to live in a Treehouse Community.”

– Treehouse Easthampton Community Member

Young Adults Benefit

Eliminating “aging out” alone

Treehouse Boston will provide affordable housing for youth leaving foster care. We train community members to understand these young people’s life circumstances, which helps them find their place in the life of the neighborhood and develop trusting relationships. On-site staff will support them with programs that teach life and work skills and provide trauma-informed counseling.

Young Adults

Eliminating “aging out” alone

Treehouse Boston will provide affordable housing for youth leaving foster care. We train community members to understand these young people’s life circumstances, which helps them find their place in the life of the neighborhood and develop trusting relationships. On-site staff will support them with programs that teach life and work skills and provide trauma-informed counseling.

Society Benefits

Solving a public health crisis

The societal costs of our current child welfare approach are enormous. The injustices inherent in the child welfare system cost far more than the $30 Billion we spend annually. Time spent in foster care is associated with homelessness, early parenthood, and incarceration. This crisis impacts all of us.

We reverse these tragic and unacceptable outcomes by giving children, youth and families the support they need and deserve.

Proven and replicable

We have the support of foster care alumni, vital aging advocates, academics, philanthropists, legislators, affordable housing professionals, and child welfare experts who look forward to the expansion of Treehouse communities across the country. The elements that make Treehouse a proven model for intentional intergenerational living are replicable and scaleable, as we are proving with the future Treehouse Boston site.

We have inspired a national conversation about intergenerational community living. Hundreds of people have visited Treehouse Easthampton to see firsthand the vibrancy of a community that’s committed to inclusion and the support of every resident — a way of life we call “Treehouse-ness.”

We have coached and consulted with a number of organizations across the country who are interested in building Treehouse-inspired communities in their region.

We have inspired a national conversation about intergenerational community living. Hundreds of people have visited Treehouse Easthampton to see firsthand the vibrancy of a community that’s committed to inclusion and the support of every resident — a way of life we call “Treehouse-ness.”

We have coached and consulted with a number of organizations across the country who are interested in building Treehouse-inspired communities in their region.