Child-care grants available for Island families

Child-care grants available for Island families

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Low and moderate income residents of five Island towns are eligible for up to $5,000 in child care subsidies beginning in October. The subsidies will come from a $1.5 million federal community development block grant awarded earlier this month. Approximately $300,000 of that grant will go toward child care subsidies, and the rest will go toward home improvements for Island residents.

The grants are intended for single working parents, or families where both parents work, but earn 80 percent or less of the area median income.

For a family of two on Martha’s Vineyard, the income limit is $52,750. For a family of four, the limit is $65,900. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Applications are available at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (508-693-7900) or at the Bailey Boyd Associates web site (baileyboyd.com).

Residents of all Island towns except West Tisbury are eligible. “Statistically they have a lower need than any other town on the Island, which doesn’t make any sense to me,” Alice Boyd of Bailey Boyd Associates, who helped write the grant application. Ms. Boyd said West Tisbury residents may be able to participate in future years.

She lauded local social service agencies, daycare operators, and the Island school system for working together to secure the subsidies.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, anywhere,” Ms. Boyd said. She said 220 Island families have already pre-applied for the grants.

Island Affordable Housing Fund executive director Ewell Hopkins said housing advocates pooled their expertise at securing federal grants, with child care advocates who could identify and demonstrate the need, to secure the funds.

“The problem is there is social service money left on the table because that’s not their expertise or their focus,” Mr. Hopkins said.