Senior housing an Island crisis


To the Editor:

Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard supports the West Tisbury older adult housing proposed for 401 State Road.

The affordable housing crisis affects each of us in similar ways, and also in ways unique to our circumstances in life. For older adults on the Vineyard, the affordable housing crisis can lead to living in a home that is too big, for lack of a smaller one to which to move, or to losing friends at a critical time in life because of the need to relocate, and possibly even becoming homeless. We know the older adult population of the Vineyard is growing, and we know the affordable housing crisis will only grow worse unless actions are taken now. We also know that older adults are a significant part of the Vineyard workforce — both as employees and as volunteers. When older adults cannot find housing, our entire community suffers.

Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard (HAMV) is a nonprofit organization devoted to making the Vineyard a great place to grow older. We do research to find out what our older adult neighbors need to stay healthy. We bring Vineyard organizations together to address these needs. We advocate for our community. We bring ideas, start programs, and help our community fix problems. 

We are fortunate on the Vineyard to have superb coalitions independent of HAMV working to solve our housing crisis. We applaud their work. We know that solutions are not simple, and very often require creativity, trust, and financial support. 

The West Tisbury affordable housing project that is currently being considered is an excellent example of this need for creativity and compromise. In a healthy community, all opinions matter, and need to be heard. What we cannot do is permit concerns and disagreements to stop solutions from happening. Our housing crisis is too great for us as a community to retreat to a defense of our viewpoints, to the detriment of progress. Too much needs to be done to defer action to the future. The crisis is today.

We urge the town of West Tisbury, the Island Housing Trust, and the residents of the West Tisbury community to come together to make this project a reality.


Bob Laskowski, chair
Healthy Aging M.V.