Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, has taken the first step in securing $300,000 during the Massachusetts House of Representatives’s negotiations of the American Rescue Plan Act funding. The funds will be used toward a permanent homeless shelter for women, run by Harbor Homes on Martha’s Vineyard.
“As the housing crisis on the Vineyard worsens, more Islanders face homelessness every year, and until recently had to choose between camping in the State Forest and faith-based warming shelters in the winter,” Fernandes said in a press release. “This $300,000 that I secured in ARPA funding, along with already generous support from the Island communities, will support Harbor Homes in establishing the first permanent, year-round homeless shelter for women on the Vineyard.”
The funds will be used on operation costs of the New York Avenue House recently purchased by Harbor Homes. Harbor Homes closed on the Oak Bluffs building during the summer, to be a permanent home for six women. The program is scheduled to open on Nov. 1 for women who make below 30 percent of the area’s median income without homes.
“Harbor Homes is extremely appreciative of Representative Fernandes’ outreach and advocacy,” Karen Tewhey, executive director of Harbor Homes, said in a press release. “The significant funding that he helped secure will help us pay for a permanent home for women who were homeless, as well as a winter shelter. It will go a long way to support the most vulnerable residents of the Vineyard. With support from the towns, the Island community, and the legislature, we will continue to find housing solutions for all of our neighbors.”
After ARPA negotiations are completed in the House, the bill will move on to the Massachusetts Senate. The legislation will then be negotiated in a conference committee, and a final version will be sent to Gov. Charlie Baker.
More information about the New York Ave. House program can be found at the Harbor Homes website.