To the Editor:
The following letter was originally sent to members of the Massachusetts House and Senate.
I write to you today to ask for action to address the severity of Martha’s Vineyard’s housing crisis, its negative impact on our economy and infrastructure, and the need for significant, reliable long-term funding Island-wide to implement housing solutions. I support bills introduced in the Massachusetts legislature this session which seek to establish transfer fees on real estate transactions over a certain amount to fund affordable, community, and attainable housing. I furthermore support amendments to these bills to allow deed restriction up to 240 percent of area median income, to address critical year-round workforce housing needs, as our median home price on the Island continues to climb past $1.2 million.
I respectfully request that these bills be reported out of committee favorably. Please note my support.
The housing shortage on Martha’s Vineyard has worsened as more families moved here, with the pandemic being a major contributing factor. The recent population influx has driven the average home price well above $1 million, inadvertently but definitively blocking middle-class Islanders from homeownership. Those in our community who suffer from substance use disorder or mental health issues are more than ever at severe risk for being unhomed.
Thank you for your consideration of these bills. I respectfully ask that the committee report the bills favorably. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our organization at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
I also endorse the Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank (CCMVHB, ccmvhb.org), which seeks to create an Island-wide housing bank, funded by a transfer fee, for the purpose of directly funding affordable, community, and attainable year-round housing.
Chip Coblyn, chair
On-Island Public Health Subcommittee
Martha’s Vineyard Substance Use Disorder Coalition