To the Editor:
We are excited to bring you big housing bank news.
As you are likely aware, Gov. Maura Healey filed a historic housing bond bill, the Affordable Homes Act, last week. She heard our voices, and included a statewide local option for a transfer fee after Islanders voted overwhelmingly for the creation of a housing bank.
The bill includes language to allow “regional housing commissions” to directly address our six-town situation (this entity would equate to our “housing bank”). There are multiple other provisions, in addition to the transfer fee, which will positively affect our affordable housing needs. It’s the largest state housing bill ever, and is the result of the collective work of dozens of Massachusetts towns, legislators, and organizations concerned about the statewide housing crisis. Here are the two key pieces of information for you:
- Long haul: The bond bill will go through an extraordinary array of legislative committees during its journey to passage. By all accounts, that will consume the entire current legislative session, with passage of a final version occurring next July.
- Amendments: The transfer fee language differs from the legislation we submitted, but as the bill progresses through the legislature, many amendments will be offered and considered. We will be working continuously with our legislators and consultants to monitor progress, and to recommend amendments as necessary to serve the Island’s needs.
We are tremendously grateful for your support and hard work the past several years. We applaud the governor; her new housing secretary, Ed Augustus; her transition team; and our representatives, Julian Cyr and Dylan Fernandes, who worked diligently to assure that provisions critical to the Vineyard were included.
As the bill moves forward, we will keep you informed. And we want to hear from you, now and in the future, if you have thoughts, concerns, and/or suggestions. We’re all ears.
The easiest way to contact the coalition and the town committee leaders is through our administrator, Noah Lipnick (email@example.com). Also, you can access our website, which will be fully overhauled next month, and continuously updated from now until July.
Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank