Housing hurdles in these tough times

Housing hurdles in these tough times

To the Editor:

Since the interview for the Martha’s Vineyard Times housing article ["Vineyard applicants find affordable housing not so affordable," January 25], four income-qualified applicants have been selected and all four of the Wentworth Way townhouses will be under contract by the end of January. However, the Island Housing Trust is still accepting applications from other income-qualified applicants as alternates. Applications can be picked up at the Vineyard Housing Office at 346 State Road in Vineyard Haven (behind Craig’s Bicycles) or downloaded from our website, ihtmv.org/applications.sht. These townhouses are scheduled to be completed in May of 2012.

As the article highlights, due to difficult economic times many Islanders who would like to own their own home (rather than renting) are often not ready – either they can’t show enough documented income and/or their credit is such that conventional lenders won’t offer them mortgage financing. That’s why the Island Housing Trust requires that all prospective applicants attend a homebuyer training offered at least once or twice a year by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, and requires that applicants secure pre-approvals from local banks or conventional mortgage lenders, as part of our application process.

These local homebuyer training classes help inform prospective homebuyers as to what is necessary when purchasing and financing a home and prepares them to be successful homeowners. The mortgage pre-approval process does eliminate some prospective applicants, but those applicants with decent credit and dependable income who do qualify and are selected have always been able to successfully purchase a home from the Island Housing Trust. Furthermore, the Island Housing Trust’s nationally recognized ground lease model helps ensure homeowners’ continued success and the home’s long-term affordability through ongoing support and stewardship services. This hands-on approach has been shown to keep foreclosure rates far lower than for neighboring market-rate houses and ensures that the community’s initial investment is retained and passed along from one homeowner to the next.

The Wentworth Way townhouses in Vineyard Haven are affordable to purchase and own for income qualified homebuyers earning between $42,000 and $86,000 annually who are ready to purchase a home. Housing is considered “affordable” when homeowners spend no more than 30 percent of their income toward housing costs – mortgage P&I, taxes, insurance, fees. In addition, these Energy Star certified homes built by the Island Housing Trust help protect homeowners from rising energy costs.

A more accurate title to this article might have been “Vineyard applicants find affordable housing not so attainable in these challenging economic times.”

Philippe Jordi

Executive Director

Island Housing Trust