Island Leaders Come Together For First-Ever Housing Summit
Anne Kuszpa •
To the editor: On April 28th, more than 50 leaders from Nantucket housing nonprofits, local and state government, conservation groups, private developers, key employers, and local residents came together to review the state of affordable housing on the Island.
Known as the Nantucket Housing Summit, the event was the first of its kind. Housing Nantucket designed and carried out the Summit, together with Housing and Community Development Consultant, Ann L. Silverman. The vision for the Summit was to provide an opportunity for individuals and organizations currently involved in Nantucket affordable housing efforts to come together for the benefit of all those who work and live in the community. ReMain Nantucket and the Town of Nantucket’s Housing and Real Estate Office provided funding for the event.
It was exciting to see local players, some of whom have never been in the same room with each other, brainstorm ideas on how to address the real-world challenges of developing affordable housing on Nantucket.
Participants identified key problems in a survey before the meeting. Small groups worked on the problems, coalesced around possible solutions, and agreed upon short-term strategies.
Some of the problems we identified included: lack of land available for development, limited funding, insufficient resources to meet demand, lengthy build times, ongoing maintenance costs, and insufficient public education.
By the end of the day, we collaborated on eight short-term strategies which they agreed to collectively address. A top priority was the $6.5 million tax override for affordable housing initiatives, which was adopted at the May 6th Annual Town Meeting. We hope voters will secure this allocation at the ballot on May 23rd. Other action items include partnering with conservation groups, adopting an inclusionary zoning bylaw, and engaging the summer community.
Learn more about the Housing Summit and its outcomes at housingnantucket.org/summit .
Executive Director, Housing Nantucket