Housing Nantucket has a twenty-two year history of creating affordable housing solutions for the community and recognizes the importance of collaboration. Maintaining and strengthening community partnerships is a priority for us.
WHY IS THIS PROBLEM SO DIFFICULT?
Nantucket is a national model for open space protection, due in large part to the Nantucket Islands Land Bank and the special legislation that created it in 1983. Over time, the Nantucket Land Bank Commission and other conservation groups have successfully acquired and taken steps to protect about half of Nantucket’s land. With golf courses and other recreation facilities added to the mix, over 60 percent of the island is un developable. The extensive open space and recreation network that exists on Nantucket today has had an indelible impact on housing values, and island housing prices are among the highest in the United States.
There are few jobs in the pay ranges required to afford Nantucket’s high housing costs. The island’s beauty conveys an image of Nantucket that masks the hardships many households contend with in order to live and work here. In addition, Nantucket has pockets of poverty, racial and ethnic minorities, and foreign-born populations. Overcrowded housing conditions and substandard if not illegal units exacerbate these problems. For seasonal and year-round workers without living-wage jobs, Nantucket’s housing barriers are even more complicated and difficult to address. Nantucket’s expensive homes, limited range of housing, small employment base, and abundance of protected land help to explain its extremes: affluence on one hand, and seasonal workers with very low paying jobs on the other hand.
The recent Workforce Housing Needs Assessment quantifies the dire shortage of price-appropriate housing for island workers and provides a variety of potential approaches. This study reveals over 50% of year-round residents are housing cost burdened, which means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Community collaboration determines how we take our next steps.