Dozens of Airbnb rentals on Martha’s Vineyard available to accommodate migrants amid ‘housing crisis’

Dozens of rental properties became available this weekend to house migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard, online listings show, despite claims by locals of a “housing crisis” on the exclusive island.

A quick search on Airbnb reveals that the island had at least 45 homes or private rooms available for a Friday-Sunday stay for a guest, with rentals in the liberal enclave fetching between $200 and $10,000 a night.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew 50 mostly Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard’s on Wednesday – throwing the island into chaos and enraging many locals who claimed their arrival had sparked a “humanitarian crisis”.

On Friday morning, the National Guard was called and the new arrivals were ferryed to the mainland and taken to Joint Base Cape Cod.

Volunteers mingle outside St Andrews Episcopal Church in Martha's Vineyard.
Fifty migrants, mostly from Venezuela, were shipped to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Boston Globe via Getty Images
A woman, who is part of a group of immigrants who have just arrived, holds a child while they are fed outside St Andrews Episcopal Church.
Islanders have banded together to support the migrants until they find decent housing.

On the island, the migrants were housed in the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society’s Ag Hall, but the facility has no beds or showers. Feeding the migrants is also a problem for the islanders.

Martha’s Vineyard homeless shelter coordinator Lisa Belcastro told local news on Thursday that the migrants needed to be taken elsewhere, saying the island simply didn’t have the infrastructure to support them.

“Eventually they have to move from here to another place,” Belcastro said. “We can’t, we don’t have the services to take care of 50 immigrants.”

“We are in a housing crisis on this island,” Belcastro said. “So we can’t accommodate everyone who lives and works here.”

The island is a renowned vacation destination for the rich and famous, including former President Barack Obama, who bought a massive $11.75 million vacation home there in 2019. Oprah Winfrey and Larry David also own properties on the island.

Overview of the house on Martha's Vineyard.
Martha’s Vineyard is an exclusive island known as a vacation destination for the wealthy.
Robert Mueller
Migrants gathered in a room in Martha's Vineyard.
The sudden influx of migrants has overwhelmed the small island of Massachusetts.
Twitter / @RepDylan

Islanders are pointing the finger at their wealthy neighbors for not opening their doors to their vacation homes during the off-season to help with what the Martha’s Vineyard Tourist Board has dubbed a “humanitarian crisis.” Dozens of Airbnb rentals on Martha’s Vineyard available to accommodate migrants amid ‘housing crisis’


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