To the Editor:
It just breaks my heart when I hear of yet another case of a broken promise relevant to our Island community housing issue.
When I saw the newspaper article about the intended workforce housing on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs being used for expensive nightly Airbnb housing, it felt like a punch in the gut. As if everyone who lives here year-round doesn’t know of our housing crisis and the extremely limited housing options for construction workers, and plumbers, and electricians, and house cleaners and stonemasons, and teachers, and secretaries, and office workers, and artisans, and musicians, and farmers, and veterinarians — and all those forced to pay exorbitant prices for single rooms with shared bathrooms — let alone to pay the higher cost of sharing a full house.
And it breaks my heart a little more when the little one-bedroom house in the year-round neighborhood near where I live goes on the market for almost $700,000 — and it still needs a totally new kitchen and bath. This is far too high a price for any middle- to low-income person or persons to afford. It would be a perfect fixer-up for a young or old Island single or couple to purchase and fix up, and someday to expand if needed. And instead it may turn into an Airbnb rental or a mega-mansion.
Corporate interests and investment opportunity seekers are changing our Island living environment rapidly and negatively, and we don’t seem to be able to stop this tide, which will overrun our traditional quality of life.
The heart and soul of this Island is the land and the people who chose to make it their home. We all need to actively pitch in to keep our special place healthy. And we need to do it now. How do we do that? We support the local town housing committees and zoning and building departments with funds to provide staff to initiate and carry out projects, support a year-round rental housing complex near the airport for workforce housing, support buy-back programs for existing houses as they go on the market, support for the new housing bank initiative, and support various projects for rental and home ownership.
Support with your time, support with your vote, support with your money. Housing for our community is our heart and soul.