To the Editor:
This letter is in strong support of the Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard project proposed for Edgartown. As a 70-year resident of Chappy, from seasonal to now full-time, and a priest who has served at both St. Andrew’s and Grace, I am acutely aware of two major challenges facing the Island: how to keep our frail elderly from having to move off-Island, and the desperate Island-wide need for affordable housing
Navigator Homes, a Green House Model, turns the traditional warehouse model of nursing home care completely upside down. An innovative design of small houses, architecturally designed to fit the Vineyard landscape, with individual rooms with private baths will allow residents to do what they enjoy and are still able to do. During COVID, the number of cases in Green House model nursing homes throughout the country was almost nonexistent. As Vivian Vasallo, VP of AARP Foundation, writes, “AARP supports the Green House Model because it helps elders keep their best life within reach. Too many older adults face high housing costs, inadequate housing, and isolation …” Sounds like the Vineyard? Of crucial importance, Navigator Homes will have its own staff housing, meaning employees will be able to work and live on the Island.
We are aware that neighbors have concerns, and any changes to a neighborhood can be worrisome. Concerns about an increase in traffic should be minimal, unless the elderly start zooming up and down the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road in motorized wheelchairs! Furthermore, since the staff will be living onsite and walking to work, the impact would be less than having a street with a typical number of houses.
Another concern we have heard is that the project would require the town to make expensive upgrades to its sewer plant and collection system, and use its dwindling flow to accommodate this project. On the contrary, the Navigator project is following a path to provide onsite, advanced nitrogen-removing septic systems that will be completely separate from the town’s sewer, and therefore, have no impact on the town’s wastewater department. Plus, they are capable of removing more than 90 percent of the nitrogen produced, as opposed to the 19 percent now required by Title V.
We see Navigator Homes of M.V. as a win-win undertaking for the Island, for both our growing number of elders in need of skilled nursing care and the housing required for their caregivers. If I were facing nursing home care, the decision between a traditional nursing home facility such as Windemere and a Green House Model such as Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, my decision would be a complete no-brainer. We on the board invite you to learn more before making any decisions for or against. Visit our website, navigatorhomesmv.org.
Rev. Cynthia Hubbard
The Rev. Cynthia Hubbard is a board member of Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard. –Ed.