Select Board, Housing Office Host Year-Round Housing Workshop

David Creed •

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The Nantucket Housing Office and Select Board held a two-hour workshop on Tuesday where they discussed year-round housing and town projects currently in the works or on the horizon. Housing Director Tucker Holland and Select Board member Brooke Mohr went through a 30-slide PowerPoint going over the state’s requirements for affordable housing.

A bulk of the presentation was filled with information of projects and funds already approved at town meeting by island voters, but also provided some perspective on the progress Nantucket has made towards reaching the 10 percent subsidized housing inventory (SHI) mark, particular over the past five years. The SHI mark is what the state requires all towns to meet following 1969 legislation that was passed to address regional housing issues with the intention of providing affordable housing for low-income people through federal and/or state programs.

Holland said Nantucket is required to have 490 SHI units. Today, the island has 297 SHI units (6.07 percent). The island still has a ways to go in order to reach that threshold, however an update to the 2020 data shows Nantucket's progress over the past two years in this chart below provided by Holland during the presentation, with the orange indicating the increase in SHI units since 2020.

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While the average across the state is 10.1 percent, Holland said that is inflated because of SHI counts in Boston, which sit as high as 20 percent with over 55,000 units. He said he has been pleased to see the community embracing the island's housing crisis over the past five years and it has shown through funding. The town has had $67 million appropriated towards affordable housing since the 2019 Annual Town Meeting.

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Holland said following the 2020 census, the town will receive a new number from the state that will determine how many SHI units they need. He expects to receive that number in May of 2023.

There will be over 250 homeownership opportunities for year-rounders within the next five years, Holland said. When a couple of attendees expressed concerns about whether these homes could fall into the hands of households off-island, Mohr referred to the Sachem's Path project, where over 200 households applied for 40 homes. All but one of those households were people living on the island already with the one exception being a household that was forced to move off-island because of housing and wanting to move back.

The projected timeline for some of these projects is outlined in the graphic below.

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