The problem of homelessness on Martha’s Vineyard is getting extra attention, and resources, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re getting more people inside,” said Karen Tewhey, Dukes County associate commissioner of homeless prevention and president of the Harbor Homes nonprofit for homeless housing on the Island.

The county has long supported emergency hotel stays from October through December, before the Houses of Grace overnight shelters open at Vineyard churches. With Houses of Grace closed since March 12 due to the pandemic, Ms. Tewhey said these hotel stays are lengthening.

“In the past, we would only offer very short-term stays — a few days, a week — until they came up with some other option,” she said. “Right now, we’re funding 14 individuals and a family of three for the last three months, all of whom were homeless when the virus broke out.”

Some of the individuals suffer from significant health problems and will need to be housed until June, Ms. Tewhey said.

After the county’s initial $23,000 budget for emergency shelter ran out, local agencies volunteered enough money to continue the shelter program through May and to house the sickest through June, county manager Martina Thornton told county commissioners last week.

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services have each pledged $10,000, the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank contributed $7,000 and the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard donated $5,000, Ms. Thornton said.

Sheltering the Island’s homeless has taken on an extra urgency in the light of the pandemic, Ms. Tewhey said. People in substandard housing or living outside often lack access to nutritious food and sanitary facilities, such as running water, showers and laundry, that help combat the spread of viruses.

“It’s not healthy for them . . . it also is a public health issue,” Ms. Tewhey said. “If there are people outside who are unable to take precautions, [Covid-19] could be spreading to the general population,” she said.

The number of people currently sheltered by the county adds up to less than a fifth of the Island’s estimated homeless population.

“Typically, there are about 100 people who are considered homeless, in that they may be sleeping someplace that’s not really habitable . . . or couch surfing from one place to another,” Ms. Tewhey said.

Not all qualify for hotel shelter, she said, and some bring unwelcome behavior that lodging owners won’t tolerate.

“Sometimes that’s alcohol or drug addiction, when people have been disruptive in a public setting,” Ms. Tewhey said. She continued:

“The Houses of Grace shelters were so valued, because they turned no one away. They were a valued support for people who really have no resources at all, including access to food and laundry and showers.”

County funding for Ms. Tewhey’s work expires at the end of June, after which she will devote herself full-time to housing homeless Islanders through Harbor Homes.

The nonprofit’s first residence, in Vineyard Haven, will accommodate six people. Nearly two dozen have applied. The application period ends May 1, Ms. Tewhey said, but the home’s opening has been delayed indefinitely by the pandemic.

“Nobody’s in the house right now except a caretaker,” she said.

Ms. Tewhey also sees a potential bright spot in the current crisis.

“There’s much more awareness of the housing needs of people who are homeless, and willingness on the part of the community,” she said, citing the hospital and other donors.

“In the past, when we had frigid weather or some weather conditions which were threatening to people, there wasn’t any mobilization to come up with a permanent shelter for people,” she said.

This pandemic demonstrates the need for a longer-term solution, Ms. Tewhey said.

“We really need to — for everybody’s benefit, including the general public — provide a safe space for people,” she said.