To the editor: My name is Lizza Obremski. I am the local puppeteer and was a teacher on the island for many years. I am not one for politics since I usually stick to silly musical puppet fun but I think it’s important to share my story, so here I go:
My family moved to Nantucket from Western Massachusetts in 1996 when I was 12 years old. I attended middle school and high school on the island, went to college, and moved home in 2006. When I was 23 my parents sold their house on the island and moved to Costa Rica full-time. So began my epic Nantucket housing journey.
I have lived in 12 places in the last 14 years. At least 6 of those places (that I know of) were sold and turned into short term rentals. A few of my landlords who sold their houses were my friends and I understood their decision. I say that because this housing crisis is different for every person and every person’s story is understandable when you take time to listen. That’s one of the things that makes taking action so difficult.
I have my Nantucket Shuffle tales written up in detail. I’ve lived in moldy basements, places without drywall or running water (envision plastic over insulation and a toilet in a shop outside), I’ve paid much more than I could afford or that was reasonable, and I even have a housing playlist on my Spotify. I could go on and on...and on. Although the details of my housing adventures may be interesting to some, I’m not writing this letter to complain. I’m writing this letter because I am the person that grew up on Nantucket and have had to consider moving off the island way too many times (not to mention how hard it is to have to move every 6 months or so). I’m going to write that one more time - I am the person who has experienced the emotional stress and heartbreak of the housing crisis on Nantucket and my stories are not even as bad as some. Many of the people who are at the forefront of these discussions have not actually lived it. I have. It is not okay.
Fortunately, my story ends well. Last June I found a year-round place to live and it is an absolute dream come true. Although I was aware of the stress that lack of housing was causing, I did not realize the toll it had taken on me until I woke up that first morning in my year-round secure housing and sobbed in relief. I still wake up grateful every single day (my landlords might be getting sick of me saying thank you). I can see the positive changes in my life because such a large burden has been taken off my back. I know many many people who are not as fortunate as I am and have had to leave the island.
Please consider the humans that need restrictions on short-term rentals in order to keep this island magical not to mention operational. I mean, what would Nantucket be if Nanpuppets had to move off island? Only kidding, but I am not kidding about the importance of voting YES on Article 60.
*Since I’ve got you here - how about allocating some of our current housing funds to subsidize year-round rent so that homeowners can still making the money they need and renters can afford to rent from them?
Thank you for your time, attention, and understanding. Stay well!