There was good cheer all around on Water street in Vineyard Haven this week during the festive grand opening for the Island Housing Trust’s new building housing six affordable apartments.

The housing trust is to be congratulated for leading the way and making solid strides toward easing the affordable housing crunch on the Island — one project at a time.

And an extra hooray goes out to the six year-round working Islanders who now have stable rental housing.

Backed by public funds from more than one Island town, the Water street apartment house project is a shining example of smart growth, built smack in the middle of busy downtown Vineyard Haven, on a main bus route and a stone’s throw from the ferry in the Island’s main port town. It was made possible thanks in part to Steve Bernier, the Vineyard Haven businessman who bought the property, formerly the site of a dilapidated old house, and donated it to the housing trust.

With its plain, beige exterior and boxy, somewhat urban style, the building is unlikely to win any beauty awards. But what matters is on the inside, where six snug and clean, nicely-appointed one-bedroom apartments opened for occupancy on the first of October.

“To me this is already history. Where’s tomorrow? What’s next?” an upbeat Mr. Bernier said at the ceremony on a sun-splashed October day. “We need other business owners who own property to think about something like this.”

Yes, and for each of the Island towns to take steps to encourage it.

As part of the housing production plans recently begun by the Island planning boards and Martha’s Vineyard Commission, an inventory should be done of all the buildings housing storefronts, especially in the down-Island towns, with a goal of identifying spaces that could be renovated or readapted as apartments. At the same time, planners should determine what barriers — financial, regulatory or otherwise — stand in the way of increasing opportunities for in-town living.

Affordable, year-round apartments in the already-built town centers, with their municipal sewer and water and easy access to public transit? It just makes sense. The apartments on Water street are a model to build on.