Online forum to discuss Deer Isle housing, workforce challenges



DEER ISLE – A community forum about affordable housing and employment challenges is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will be held online via the conferencing platform Zoom, Stonington business owner Skip Greenlaw announced.

“With the announcement that the Island Nursing Home (INH) plans to close on Oct. 26 because of a shortage of licensed staff, it has become very obvious to all of us that our schools and other businesses have been experiencing similar problems for some time,” said Greenlaw, who owns Stonington Seafood Express. “Many businesses on the island have ‘HELP WANTED’ signs on their premises. We all have become aware, thanks to the efforts of the Island Workforce Housing Committee, that there is a critical shortage of affordable housing, which affects the ability for INH as well as schools and businesses to hire employees.”

“The primary focus will be on INH, but we will have representatives from our schools and other island businesses to discuss the employment and housing challenges which are facing businesses and have an impact on all of us,” Greenlaw said. “The comments will be brief, and the majority of the time will be to answer questions of community members and to begin to find solutions to these problems.”

The connection for this forum will be posted on the School Union 76 website — su76.org.

CSD 13 School Board Chairwoman Jane Osborne has agreed to host, Greenlaw said. “Your name must appear on your picture. The discussion will be civil, or your participation will be terminated. We would appreciate questions and suggestions, not speeches,” he said.

“We regret very much that we could not have this forum in person, but it seems like too big a risk to have so many people meeting inside a building given the parameters of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Greenlaw, a former school board member.

For more information about the forum, contact Greenlaw at 460-1260.

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