Homelessness on Martha’s Vineyard

Saturday, December 7th at 1:00 pm for a conversation about homelessness and housing equity on Martha’s Vineyard. Discuss the volunteer run Winter Warming Shelters and find out how you can help. Presenters include: Dorie Godfrey, Volunteer for Houses of Grace Warming Shelter; Myles Goodwin, Volunteer for Houses of Grace Warming Shelter; Rebecca Jamieson, Director of the daytime Warming Center; Ilona Metell, MV Red Cross; Karen Tewhey, Homeless Prevention for Duke’s County.

There is a housing crisis on Martha’s Vineyard. As in all crises, the most harmed are some of the island’s most vulnerable members, the elderly, those with low to no income, those with disabilities, or mental health and substance use issues. Not including the “summer shuffle” of those who lose their housing due to the end of winter rentals, Dukes County estimates that at least 100 individuals/families are faced with homelessness each year.

There is currently no year-round homeless shelter on Martha’s Vineyard. The only overnight shelter is run by island Clergy members and volunteers, and only from January 1st to March 31st. This shelter, known as Houses of Grace, houses, on average, 15-30 people a night, in churches across the island. These shelters provide bedding, toiletries, clothes and food to those in need, whether the person is chronically homeless, out of heating fuel, or in need of a safe, warm place to spend the night for any reason. 

In the daytime, there is one warming shelter that operates out of the basement of the Good Shepherd Parish in Oak Bluffs. It offers a respite from the cold for anyone who needs it during limited daytime hours providing warm beverages and refreshments,  showers and laundry service. The warming center opens in November and closes at the end of March.

This event is free and open to all. Refreshments will be provided.