To the Editor:
I write to articulate some facts regarding the proposed Housing Bank that may be helpful as Islanders decide how they will vote on warrant articles.
First, there is universal agreement that M.V. faces a crisis in affordable housing. This means that elders who want or need to downsize to smaller homes can’t find them to rent or buy, nor can the younger generation who take care of us as nurses, teachers, coaches, caregivers, salespeople and entrepreneurs.
Second, this Housing Bank opportunity — whose concept was approved by over 70 percent in town meetings — was modeled on the Land Bank, which is generally regarded as an effective and well-run operation.
Third, the short-term rental tax will be paid by visitors, not Islanders, and using some of it for housing makes sense because summer short-term rentals sharply reduce our year-round housing stock and force people to do the summer shuffle.
Fourth, this new revenue — whatever the final amount collected by each town and however the selectmen decide to use it — is a rare and incredible opportunity to make some progress toward solving local housing shortages. If some significant part of it is not earmarked for housing, it is unlikely the opportunity will come again soon.
I respect alternative viewpoints, and the collective wisdom of our citizens; I also note that the nature of the legislative approval process will permit improvements to the proposed structure over the next year. For now, I simply encourage all voters to consider our current housing needs and future potential.