Morgan Woods applications find many takers for affordable rental housing
In less than two weeks, about 330 people have taken applications for the Vineyard's first municipally developed affordable rental housing, 60 apartments in Morgan Woods in Edgartown, according to representatives in the offices handling the applications.
"[Applications are] going like hot cakes," David Vigneault said Tuesday. Mr. Vigneault is director of the Duke's County Regional Housing Authority, which is distributing applications as well as receiving completed forms. "It's exciting. People are really excited."
His office also has fielded questions about the applications from a "huge amount" of phone calls and walk-ins, he said.
Two hundred applications were picked up at Edgartown Town Hall and about 130 at the county housing office. A total of 150 completed applications have already been returned to either the housing authority office in Vineyard Haven or to The Community Builders in Boston, the general contractor, leaseholder and management company for the project, TCB's senior property manager Melissa Nichols said Tuesday.
"We're getting a good response - better than average," she said. She said she expects an even greater return in the next two weeks. TCB manages more than 90 non-profit housing developments throughout the eastern half of the United States.
Ms. Nichols' office also has fielded a lot of questions from potential applicants. "They're very interested," she said. This initial phase of the application process, which began Jan. 26, has been going smoothly and will continue through Wednesday, Feb. 21, she said.
TCB also has had a big response to its advertisement for a property manager, Ms. Nichols said.
Mr. Vigneault said a few of the applicants are already housed in some of the authority's units elsewhere on the Island, but they would like to live in Edgartown because they either work there or their children go to school there. His office also sent the Morgan Woods applications to all 320 people who are on the authority's waiting list for affordable housing.
"This shows - as does Middle Line (Chilmark's affordable housing project) - that the will exists at the town level. When the town decides, it gets done," Mr. Vigneault said.
The lottery drawing on Monday, Feb. 26, at Edgartown Town Hall - a first on the Island for rental housing - will assign a number to every applicant. The drawing is open to the public, but Mr. Vigneault noted that applicants do not have to attend in order to get into the various housing pools.
Following the drawing, TCB will begin screening the applicants with the first 60 numbers. First priority will be given to Edgartown residents, for whom 70 percent of the units have been allocated. TCB will screen the applicants for income eligibility and ability to pay rent, as well as criminal and credit records and substance-abuse history.
The complex of 21 buildings off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road will hold one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, some of which are handicapped accessible. The apartments will be allotted to four income categories, from 30 percent to 140 percent of Dukes County median income. Morgan Woods is expected to be ready for its first occupants in May.
Applications are still available at Edgartown Town Hall, Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, 346 State Road, Vineyard Haven, or by calling The Community Builders at 1-800-618-6502.