To the Editor:
On June 22, we were honored to be invited by Gov. Healey to participate in an in-person roundtable focused on affordable and attainable housing, here on Martha’s Vineyard. Also in attendance were Sen. Julian Cyr, Rep. Dylan Fernandes, and Mark Attia of MassHousing.
We would like to extend a sincere thank-you to the governor for her background research and for our in-depth conversation. The governor shared her clear understanding that the Cape and Islands are very different from the rest of the commonwealth, and that Island challenges are even more extreme when it comes to the housing crisis facing Massachusetts. We appreciate the acknowledgment of the existential burden this crisis is placing on our six towns’ municipal
infrastructures and town budgets, and the painful toll it is taking on our year-round community members Island-wide. We also appreciate the governor’s recognition of the need for a new “all of the above” approach, including her clear support for the six towns’ request for a real estate transfer fee to fund an Island-wide Housing Bank. We acknowledge the importance of state funding that has allowed us to create needed housing to serve our low- and moderate-income residents, such as IHT’s Kuehn’s Way neighborhood, which the governor visited, and we thank the governor for acknowledging that the Housing Bank would allow the Island to help itself create and preserve local housing solutions for our “missing middle” income residents at a scale that maintains the Vineyard’s character.
We look forward to working closely with the Healey/Driscoll administration, MassHousing, and our legislative delegation to swiftly craft and implement new tools for seasonal communities in order to create and preserve year-round housing and address seasonal workforce housing needs. We thank the governor for her engagement in discussing allowing state funding for municipal employee workforce housing, implementing year-round deed restrictions to address the “missing middle,” creating enhanced toolkits for small towns, and supporting seasonal workforce housing.
Philippe Jordi, CEO, Island Housing Trust
Denise Schepici, president, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Windemere Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Carolina Cooney, executive director, M.V. Chamber of Commerce
Adam Turner, executive director, Martha’s Vineyard Commission
Morgan Hodgson, town of Aquinnah
Arielle Faria, co-chair, Coalition to Create the MV Housing Bank