West Tisbury Affordable Housing Awarded

The Vineyard Gazette reported this week that two young West Tisbury families were the happy winners in a lottery held this week for two new affordable homes.

Spencer Binney and Lizzy Kent, their baby daughter Willow and her brother Levi will move into a home at 619 Edgartown-West Tisbury Road next month. Jason and Darcy Neago and sons Tristan and Griffin will be their next-door neighbors.

The lottery took place at the town selectmen’s meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The two three-bedroom energy-efficient houses on three acres were built by South Mountain Company for the nonprofit Island Housing Trust, which developed the project and holds a ground lease on the land. Families and individuals earning between $47,200 and $67,450 were eligible for the lottery; the houses are being sold for $225,000. The selection process included preference for larger household size and people living and working in town, housing trust executive director Philippe Jordi said at the meeting.

Land for the project was donated by Kristian Strom, financing was provided by the Edgartown National Bank.

“We wish our homeowners the best,” Mr. Jordi said.

Dukes County Regional Housing Authority executive director David Vigneault, who handled the applications, thanked the trust and the town for their efforts.

Tisbury Affordable Housing Awarded

The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported this week that Beth McElhinney was selected by lottery to purchase a $225,000 townhouse. Calvin and Geneva Corwin were selected as the homebuyers for a second townhouse, valued at $184,500, without a lottery under a family preference option and income guidelines.

The townhouses are two of six in a cluster of three duplexes that comprise Tisbury’s Wentworth Way affordable housing project, a public/private partnership spearheaded by the Island Housing Trust (IHT).

IHT executive Philippe Jordi and chairman of the board Richard Leonard thanked the town for its support and the many people who made it possible.

Housing Needs Study Shows Island Aging, Poverty Rising

The Vineyard Gazette reported this week that “there are consistent problems when it comes to housing needs on the Vineyard: an affordability gap, caused by high housing prices in a largely seasonal community paired with low wages, has long made it hard for year-round residents to rent or own housing on the Island.

The article goes on to say that an updated housing report conducted by Karen Sunnarborg entitled Martha’s Vineyard Housing Needs Assessment” shows that some problems are shifting, as are potential solutions. There is increasing poverty on the Island and a rising number of older residents and single-member households, the study found, calling for an emphasis on rental units over home ownership.”

This assessment is the first of three to come, Ms. Sunnarborg said. While this first draft looks at background research and market trends, the next document will look at existing organizations that provide or produce housing on the Island. The third and final document will look at future projections, and “what organizations as well as the information in the housing needs assessment suggests are the best avenues for meeting the affordable housing agenda going forward on the Island.”

The first phase provides a look at the problem. “The Island’s average weekly wage was 71 per cent of the state average, the median home price was 54 per cent above the state’s and the median rent exceeded the state’s by 17 per cent,” the report states. “This in essence describes the Vineyard’s affordable housing problem.”

The report found that Vineyard poverty levels were lower than the state average, but poverty is nonetheless on the rise here. The numbers of individuals or families in poverty almost doubled between 1990 and 2010, and almost tripled in the case of those 65 years of age or older. Poverty levels decreased, however, for children under 18 and female-headed households with children.

The Island has declining numbers of people 24 to 44 years of age, the report said, and a dramatic increase in the number of residents between the ages of 45 and 65. There is also an increasing number of smaller households, with one-third of all households consisting of individuals living alone.

“There is a pressing need for a great number of smaller units to accommodate a growing population of small households,” the report states.  Ms. Sunnarborg said the new goal of producing 50 units of affordable housing each year “still might be too ambitious.”


Four Green Affordable Homeownership Opportunities Available – Apply Now!

The Island Housing Trust is pleased to offer four affordable homeownership opportunities in Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury.  Income eligible homebuyers are encouraged to apply.  All applicant must have attended a homebuyer training scheduled for Tuesday, January 29th. Applications can be downloaded from the Island Housing Trust’s website or can be found at the Vineyard Housing Office at  346 State Road  in Vineyard Haven (behind the Tisbury Farm Market) and by calling 508-693-4419.

Wentworth Way includes two newly constructed energy efficient 2-bedroom townhouses with full basements at 129 Lake Street walking distance from downtown Vineyard Haven.  Families and individuals earning between $47,200 to $82,900 can apply to purchase one of these two townhouses selling for $184,500 or $225,000 depending household income. The application deadline for the Wentworth Way townhouses is March 4, 2013.

619 Edgartown Road includes two newly constructed energy efficient 3-bedroom single-family houses with full basements in West Tisbury.  Families and individuals earning between $47,200 to $67,450 can apply to purchase one of these two homes selling for $225,000.  The application deadline for the 619 Edgartown Road homes is February 15, 2013.