M.V. Mediation program takes on evictions


The Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program (MVMP) is now part of the statewide Eviction Diversion Initiative (EDI), according to a press release.

The EDI is an array of programs that help landlords and tenants affected by the pandemic.

In collaboration with other Massachusetts mediation centers, through the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration network, MVMP is offering free mediation and other services to those on-Island, particularly surrounding housing agreements.

“Housing is crucial. As the winter continues, we know that landlords and tenants are negatively affected by the uncertainty of the present moment,” MVMP executive director Sara Barnes said in the release. “Our mediators can help turn tough times and difficult conversations into self-determined agreements. Housing mediation promotes more effective communication through neutral facilitation as part of the mediation process. Since 1984, we have helped many Islanders resolve conflicts, often without going to court.”

The new statewide housing mediation program is part of Gov. Baker’s initiative to unite different organizations in Massachusetts to mitigate the detrimental economic effects of COVID-19.

By keeping tenants in stable housing and preventing landlords from needing to evict tenants, the release states that EDI works to prevent homelessness, and diminish housing insecurity.

Housing mediation program coordinator for MVMP Christina Simmons said in the release that she is excited to offer the services to the Vineyard, and also connect people to other state programs that offer additional support for future needs.

“We offer services in Portuguese as well,” she added.