Construction on an Edgartown skilled nursing complex with workforce housing could start later this year after it received its final state approval this week.
The Massachusetts Public Health Council voted Wednesday to approve Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, a 70-bed nursing facility with 48 workforce housing units aimed at easing Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s need for skilled nursing residences and employee housing. The project had already received approvals from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Edgartown board of health and Edgartown planning board.
Pending a building permit, construction on the workforce housing part of the project could start as early as next month; construction on the nursing home is scheduled for this summer.
The approval comes as the hospital deals with a host of job openings, a result of the ongoing nationwide health worker shortage and the Island’s housing crisis. In February, the hospital and nursing home had more than 200 job openings and a 23 job vacancy rate.
The project would be the first of its kind for the Island.
“This will make a difference in the life of our seniors, the bedrock of our community who deserve to receive skilled nursing care on the Island,” said Denise Schepici, the president of the hospital. “And we are in desperate need of housing for our staff. Without places for our employees to live, we will struggle to continue the services our community is depending on us to deliver. We cannot wait; the current situation is not sustainable.”
According to the hospital, the project could be completed in late 2024 or mid-2025.
– Ethan Genter
Navigator Homes has passed its final state approval after receiving the green light from the Massachusetts Public Health Council.
The nursing home and workforce housing project is scheduled to begin construction this summer, according to a joint press release from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Navigator Homes
The release states that Navigator Homes meets two needs on the Island: an on-Island skilled nursing facility and housing for workers at both the Navigator Homes and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The project is planned to provide 70 skilled nursing beds in five buildings, and 48 workforce housing units in two apartment buildings, a town house, and four duplexes.
“The Public Health Council’s approval of Navigator Homes gives us the opportunity to bring this innovative Green House model of skilled nursing to the Vineyard for a segment of the population that needs and deserves it,” Navigator Homes president David McDonough said in the release. “So many individuals have worked diligently to bring this project to this point, and we look forward to moving it across the finish line with a construction start this summer. We also look forward to working with Hebrew Senior Life, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, as our Operations Manager to provide the very best in class services to our island seniors.”
A lack of housing also forced the hospital to rely on contract staff to fill employment needs, according to the release. Some of these openings are “crucial to the daily functioning of the hospital” and relying on contractual workers equates to additional costs to the hospital.
“We deeply appreciate the support we have received to move this entire project forward from today’s vote by the Public Health Council to all the local regulatory approvals,” Martha’s Vineyard Hospital president Denise Schepici said in the release. “This will make a difference in the life of our seniors, the bedrock of our community who deserve to receive skilled nursing care on the island. And we are in desperate need of housing for our staff. Without places for our employees to live, we will struggle to continue the services our community is depending on us to deliver. We cannot wait; the current situation is not sustainable.”
The project is expected to be completed by mid 2025.