About Us

The Island Housing Trust is a non-profit organization that supports a diverse and vital community on the island of Martha’s Vineyard by creating and sustaining permanently affordable housing solutions, both rental and ownership.  Over the past decade, we’ve provided hope and opportunity to hundreds of low and moderate income island families seeking a dignified solution to their affordable housing needs. Together, we’re working towards a stronger, more resilient and sustainable future for our island community.

We make it possible for people who are essential to our community’s well being – teachers, shopkeepers, health care workers, construction workers, small business owners, municipal employees, among others – to afford to own a home despite today’s high prices. Island children can thrive in stable, safe neighborhoods. Time and energy spent struggling with short-term or inadequate housing can be put to more productive use that benefits the entire community.  Richard Leonard, President

Our Vision 2020 – Over the past ten years we have sold and rented 102 homes and apartments to low and moderate income families throughout Martha’s Vineyard.  Our goal is to create 100 new safe, stable, permanently affordable year-round homes by the end of 2020. To accomplish this challenging goal we need to raise $24 million by working in partnership with island towns, other housing organizations, and with the support of individuals like you. Together we can solve nearly half of our island wide housing needs within the next five years.

Our model is simple – We create and sustain permanent housing solutions that bridge the gap between the island’s high property values and families in need.  We lower the initial cost of homeownership by eliminating the land cost and a portion of the construction costs through grants and donations.  In exchange, our homeowners agree that, if they should sell their home, they sell it to another low or moderate-income family at an affordable price.

Our local partnerships are smart – We develop ownership and rental housing cost effectively and efficiently.  This strengthens the island economy by creating more local jobs. Successful projects that come in under budget and ahead of schedule serve as models of public/private partnership.  These partnerships involve island towns, land conservation organizations, and other housing organizations located at the Vineyard Housing Office.

Our homes are models of sustainability – We design and build simple, durable, healthy, energy efficient homes that are affordable to purchase, own, and maintain for generations. Joint land purchases with the Land Bank have created clustered neighborhoods of affordable homes while permanently conserving surrounding open space.  The neighborhood of eight LEED platinum certified homes at Eliakims Way in West Tisbury were designed and built to be “zero net energy” homes.  These green, affordable homes have the potential of using less energy than the homes actually produce from their roof mounted solar electric panels.

Our commitment is perpetual Our nationally recognized ground lease model helps ensure homeowners’ success and their home’s permanent affordability through ongoing support and stewardship services for as long as they own it. This hands-on approach has helped safeguard against the threat of foreclosure and ensures that these homes on leased land remain affordable now and for future generations of island families.