$100,000 secured for services to Islanders


Updated 1:35

Massachusetts state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, reports that he successfully negotiated two amendments totaling $100,000 during the Massachusetts House of Representatives fiscal year 2023 budget negotiations for an affordable veterans’ housing project and improvements to health and human services for Vineyarders, according to a press release. 

The first amendment secured $30,000 toward a veterans’ housing project on Martha’s Vineyard, according to the release. This will be a collaborative effort between Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ veterans service program and the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center. The release states Martha’s Vineyard Community Services has identified 25 Island veterans “who are in dire need of housing.” Many advocates are working to support veterans on the Island, but the release said there is no “[veteran] affordable housing unit or a central location to unify resources.” The $30,000 will provide the capital for a feasibility study.

“Veterans provide an incredible service to our country, putting their lives on the line to protect

our freedoms and liberties,” Fernandes said in the release. “They deserve to be fully supported by our community when they return to civilian life, and I am proud to have secured funding that will jump-start the process for building affordable and transitional veterans housing on the Vineyard.”

The $50,000 in the second amendment will be used toward providing “critical health and human services” to Vineyarders who need to travel off-Island for “essential medical care,” according to the release. The funding will support the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ transportation access program, which includes direct reimbursements to Vineyarders for off-Island medical and behavioral health travel expenses. 

“Geographical barriers should not prevent Vineyard residents from accessing the healthcare

services they need,” Fernandes said in the release. “The $50,000 I secured today will help support the vital work of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services to ensure all Vineyarders can afford to travel off-Island for necessary medical care.”

An additional $20,000 was secured for the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club, Fernandes notified the Times. 

The Massachusetts Senate will take up the budget after the House is done with its budget process. The budget will then be negotiated in a conference committee before a final version is sent to Gov. Charlie Baker.

Updated with information about the $20,000 for the Boys and Girls Club.