What is the Martha's Vineyard Housing Bank?


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What is the Martha's Vineyard Housing Bank?

Like so many resort and seasonal destinations across the country, Martha's Vineyard is experiencing a housing crisis and our essential workers, nurses, teachers, farmers etc are being priced out of year round rentals or the abilty to purchase their own homes. Many people here are trying to find ways to help. One way is to levy a tax on home sales to create a housing bank, which will offer several ways to secure affordable solutions to home ownership or renting year round.  

Tea Lane Associates along with many island wide organizeations and individuals supports the Housing Bank and want to help spread the word.

The Coalition to Create the Martha's Vineyard Housing Bank, (CCMVHB) has been created to try to move this along before its too late. 

The housing bank vote passed in all six island town meetings in March and will go to vote in all 6 towns by the end of May 2022.  

There is a mine of information on the CCMVHB website including frequently asked questions and common misconceptions  - its extemely transparent and user friendly ... please take the time to look at the website before you vote YES at your town election. 

The Goal: To establish an island-wide Housing Bank that provides a reliable and significant source of long-term funding to make year-round housing attainable for all segments of our community.


Warrant Article and Legislation

  • Identical warrant articles will be voted on this spring at all town meetings and town elections
  • The article must pass at both the town meeting and town election, in a minimum of 4 towns,    to move forward.
  • The warrant article is a summary of the 26-page legislation, on file with all the Town Clerks, that will be submitted to the state legislature if the votes are favorable.
  • The legislation itself will have to be voted on by all towns AFTER it returns from the legislature, in order to be adopted.



  •   2% transfer fee on real estate transactions, paid by the buyer.
  •   A minimum of the first $1 million of every transaction will be exempt from the fee.
  •   Projected revenue is $10-12 million per year


Governance & Operation:

  • Seven elected commissioners (one from each town and one at-large).
  • Professional staffing including enforcement – HB will enforce its own restrictions.
  •  Town Advisory Boards (TABs) which must approve all spending in their town
  • Commissioners and TABs are subject to MA Open Meeting and Conflict of Interest Laws


What It Will Do:

  •  Primarily a funding source that receives and funds proposals
  • Will be able to buy and sell real estate, but will not develop, manage, or maintain
  •  Will provide rental and down payment assistance, loans, grants, and will purchase year-round deed restrictions
  •  Individuals, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and public entities will be eligible for funding.


Who It Will Serve:

  •  Year-round Islanders
  • Expanded income range to serve current and future workforce needs as real estate costs continue to rise.  (market projections indicate the need will be up to 240% of Area Median Income)
  • Funding will serve greatest needs according to prevailing data -- currently lower incomes and rental availability
  • According to Dukes County Regional Housing Authority (DCRHA), at least 1000 households here are now

 in substandard housing


Requirements & Priorities

  • A minimum of 75% of funding for previously developed properties with existing buildings
  • Repurposing existing buildings (especially short-term rentals) is the focus
  • Strong environmental requirements for new construction (no fossil fuels, no new net nitrogen pollution, ecological restrictions) and priorities (smart growth principles, avoid priority habitats)
  • All funding must be consistent with town and regional master plans, wastewater plans, and climate goals


Property Taxes and Tax Base

  • All HB funded properties will pay taxes as assessed by town assessors
  • Detailed statistical analysis by Oak Bluffs town assessor revealed HB will have little effect


Borrowing Restrictions, Withdrawal, and Sunset

  •     Limited to 10% of average annual revenues
  •     Towns may withdraw in the future by a town meeting vote
  •     After withdrawal, a town will only collect fees until its portion of debt is satisfied (within 1-2 years)
  •     Automatic sunset after 30 years;  renewal may occur by vote of the towns


What Does It Take To Get It Done

  •   Passage in at least 4 of the 6 towns at town meeting and at the town election
  •   An act of the state legislature to pass the legislation that the towns will submit
  •   After legislation is passed, a final ballot election in all towns is required to adopt the Housing Bank.


The Impact and the Opportunity

  • The housing crisis is greater than ever and threatens our community and our way of life.  Our workforce is shrinking, and essential services are strained.  This is an exceptionally important moment in time for the Vineyard - the best opportunity we’ve ever had to actually solve this crisis and change the future of island life for all of us.  We are here to answer your questions.


Martha's Vineyard Housing Bank