Martha's Vineyard Hospital runs with 25% of jobs vacant amid housing crisis

Martha's Vineyard (Mass.) Hospital is the largest employer on the island, and for months it has operated with a quarter of its staff jobs left unfilled, according to a Sept. 16 report from The Washington Post.

The struggle to find workers reflects the housing crisis on the island, where policymakers have underinvested in affordable housing and allowed investment properties and short-term rentals to proliferate unchecked, leaving service workers with few housing options, according to the report.

Hospital CEO Denise Schepici said that in January, she offered 19 jobs to doctors, nurses, and other workers ahead of the busy summer months. Each was turned down. 

"How do you recruit when rents are doubling from $3,000 a month to $6,000 a month, which is what happened to one of my nurses living in a one-bedroom apartment?" Ms. Schepici said.

The hospital has taken another route to address the problem by leasing about two dozen dormitory-style bedrooms at about $3 million a year to offer subsidized housing for workers.

The island population, and thus the available housing, changes dramatically based on the season. The year-round population is about 17,000, while the summer months see as many as 200,000 people on the island, according to the Martha's Vineyard Commission.

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