The Island Housing Trust is joining community members and organizations from across the Island in support of the Housing Bank MV. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fund year-round housing for a wide range of working and retired Island residents (not just affordable) on Martha’s Vineyard. Your vote at annual town meeting will be the first step in creating a reliable source of funding to solve the Vineyard’s housing crisis.

We are losing young families and our workforce due to the price of homes and the lack of year-round rental housing. We’re projected to lose more working families while the service needs of our aging population will be tripling over the next 10 years. The impact of these projections for the Vineyard community are profound.

The Island Housing Trust has been a leader in creating year-round housing solutions, both ownership and rental, that are cost effective, energy efficient, fit within surrounding neighborhoods, and in many cases reuse existing housing. Over the past 20-years, town property and Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding has been critical in helping the IHT leverage private donations and state grants to create nearly 100 permanent housing solutions across the Island.

But it’s not nearly enough and it’s not serving many in our workforce who don’t qualify and are shut out of the housing market. There are no advertised year-round rentals in the newspapers, and median home prices ranging from $650,000 to $1.4 million require that households earn $170,000 to $340,000 in order to afford to buy a home on the Vineyard. No wonder we can’t attract and retain teachers, nurses and police, not to mention artists and farmers who feed us and provide critical community services. Our year-round community is at a tipping point.

Based on goals identified in the six-towns’ 2017 Housing Production Plans it is projected that at least $8 million is needed annually to create 55 year-round housing solutions. Solutions that fit within the fabric and neighborhoods of Vineyard, as well as needed improvements to our infrastructure (water and sewer or enhanced septic), to encourage smart growth in town centers while protecting our sensitive watersheds and coastal ponds.

You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference by voting “yes” at your annual town meeting to create and fund the Housing Bank MV. Let’s use a portion of these new “short-term rental tax” revenues to help solve the very problem that contributes to our year-round housing shortage and unaffordability.

Philippe Jordi,

West Tisbury

The writer is executive director of the Island Housing Trust.