The Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard is working with the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority (DCRHA) to provide financial relief to renters who are suddenly unable to make their payments, according to a press release.
Labeled the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Relief Program, the fund will be filled by donations to the Endowment, and those funds will be administered by the DCRHA.
The DCRHA cannot directly solicit money for its work from private donors, so the Endowment is working to fill that function.
The project is part of the Emergency Response Fund established by the Endowment which, in the last two weeks, has awarded around $91,000 in grants to 14 Vineyard nonprofits.
The Endowment has already placed $10,000 in the relief fund.
In addition to providing a streamlined method of collecting donations, the project will focus on Island renters who typically are not eligible for financial assistance, or do not seek it.
The release also states that, although some of these renters may qualify for some assistance under various government programs, those funds may not be made available for months.
“We have lots of renters who have eight or nine month leases, something you don’t see anywhere else, and are already pressed with coming up with housing in May and June,” David Vigneault, director for the DCRHA, said in the release. “Then to suddenly not have their income is just a double hit. These are people who are often a phone call away from losing their housing in more typical times.”
Executive director for the Permanent Endowment of MV, Emily Bramhall, said in the release that renting on the Vineyard has already been filled with uncertainty, and now the precariousness of seasonal rentals has grown significantly.
“This unique collaboration with the housing authority to address this emerging crisis is
another example of the ingenuity and generosity of the greater Vineyard community,” Bramhall said in the release.