Additional $100,000 donated to combat homelessness

Harbor Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, the Island’s homelessness prevention program, will receive three donations totaling $100,000, according to a press release.

The donations come from the Martha’s Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation, the Eugene and Carol Ludwig Family Foundation, and the Hutchins Family Foundation.  

Harbor Homes will use $75,000 to house individuals or families. The remaining $25,000 will fund the development of a long-range plan to address homelessness on the Vineyard.   

According to the release, this donation will supplement the $150,000 pledged by Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to create winter shelters for low-income individuals or families who are homeless. Together these donations will ensure that the money needed to fund staff, space, and supplies is available. 

The release says the funding comes at a critical time for the Island and the organization. Both the Houses of Grace winter shelter and the daytime Warming Center, which have provided a lifeline for the past four years, are unable to open this winter because of the COVID pandemic. “However, the need to shelter and feed homeless residents of the Island only grows as a serious challenge as we head into the demanding winter season. A collaborative effort among Harbor Homes, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Dukes County, and Houses of Grace is underway to establish several shelter sites this winter that will be supervised and follow safety protocols to care for our neighbors without housing,” the release states.

Karen Tewhey, president of Harbor Homes and Dukes County associate commissioner for homeless prevention, told The Times she believes that with the two generous donations, a shelter will be available this winter.

“I do believe we will be able to get a shelter operational. We will have adequate money for staffing the space and for supplies,” Tewhey said. She said the donations from the hospital and the foundations “were an incredible surprise, and are incredibly validating to anyone who is working on homelessness prevention on the Vineyard.”

Tewhey continued to say that she is excited that $25,000 of donor funds will be set aside to focus on developing a permanent solution to the ongoing struggle of homelessness on Martha’s Vineyard. 

“It’s an ongoing struggle of keeping our neighbors safe in the winter. This is really a change in attitude among the important leaders on the Island,” Tewhey said. “They clearly appreciate the scope of this problem, and want to help be problem solvers.”