To the Editor:
The Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard (“MV Dems”) wholeheartedly supports the work of the Coalition to Create the M.V. Housing Bank (CCMVHB). The MV Dems, whose members come from all six island towns, work to “foster Democratic Party ideals and aims among Island residents and visitors.”
Housing is high among those ideals. The current state Democratic Party platform says, “Everyone has a right to a decent home and suitable living environment, and it is crucial we address the need for more low- and moderate-income and affordable housing throughout the state.” Housing is also inextricably linked to such other key issues as economic security, accessible healthcare, civil rights, public safety, and the environment.
The Vineyard’s housing crisis has grown steadily worse over the decades, despite the efforts of the six towns and numerous individuals and organizations to mitigate it. We believe that a reliable revenue stream is desperately needed to support these efforts, and that a housing bank modeled on the very successful Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank model can provide that revenue stream.
We therefore support current efforts in the state legislature to fund affordable housing with transfer fees, to include housing banks as recipients of this revenue, and to set an exemption threshold high enough to acknowledge the realities of the Vineyard housing market.
The CCMVHB has already demonstrated impressive depth and breadth in its organizing, drawing in active supporters across towns, generations, and interest areas. Its website, ccmvhb.org, provides not only a wealth of information but multiple ways for Vineyarders to support this crucial effort. Martha’s Vineyard Democrats will do what we can to spread the word and get this done.
Stephen B. Power, chair
M.V. Democratic Council