With year-round rentals on the Island more sparse than at any time in recent memory, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission has begun exploring the possibility of purchasing staff housing.

In an open letter to the commission this week, chairman Jim Vercruysse outlined an initial plan to acquire staff housing using commission funds.

“We feel that this proposal to acquire a property will have a tremendous positive impact on the organization,” he said in the letter, noting the commission’s own longstanding policy to promote affordable housing on Martha’s Vineyard when reviewing developments. “It is time we walk the walk and provide some stable employee housing,” Mr. Vercruysse wrote.

At its meeting Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to authorize Mr. Vercruysse to form a search committee that may independently offer up to $750,000 for a house on the Vineyard. Mr. Vercruysse said the committee would consist of himself, along with commissioners James Joyce, Leonard Jason Jr. and Joshua Goldstein.

“As we all know, affordable year-round housing rentals are pretty much nonexistent,” he said at the meeting. “And I think the longer we wait the more difficult it will be.”

Commission administrator Curtis Schroeder offered rough estimates of what a three-bedroom house would cost to insure and maintain, ranging from $7,650 for a $600,000 home to $18,440 for a $750,000 home.

Demand for homes in that price range — considered the lower end for the Vineyard — is currently strong.

“We have professional staff that go through the same thing that everybody else goes through on the Island,” said commission executive director Adam Turner, who arrived on the job in 2015 and has not yet found year-round housing. “This is an investment so that we can have the capacity we need to hire the people that we need to do the job.”

Mr. Vercruysse said the housing could serve either the executive director or other commission staff, but he said the new committee would need to come up with guidelines to make that decision. According to the estimates, monthly rent would be equivalent to a third of the executive director’s salary, which started at $107,454. But rents would likely depend on the salary of each tenant.

Mr. Schroeder said the commission’s Olde Stone Building in Oak Bluffs now has a lien of $450,000 and a total valuation of $1.2 million, giving the commission borrowing power of up to $1 million.

Commissioners generally welcomed Mr. Vercruysse’s proposal, although some urged caution in light of the strong seller’s market and the commission’s own financial limitations.

Clarence A. (Trip) Barnes 3rd suggested that housing should not simply be offered to every new employee, but said he supported the idea of providing housing for the executive director. He stressed the importance of actively watching the market and not being afraid to spend the money. “When you see a bargain — if it’s acceptable — you can’t just keep dogging it,” he said.

Ben Robinson said if the commission buys a house it should also be on the hook for maintenance. Mr. Schroeder said the goal is to buy a house that doesn’t need any maintenance up front, but he said the commission would need to increase its annual deferred maintenance budget to cover any capital costs related to either the Old Stone Building or staff housing.

Josh Goldstein suggested that the cost of housing could be worked into staff salaries so that no money formally exchanges hands. “There are plenty of ways to do it,” he said of the initiative. But Linda Sibley favored the indirect subsidy approach, arguing that doubling Mr. Turner’s salary, as it were, would not be feasible.

“We are getting a dual investment,” she said. “We are going to get the ownership of a valuable piece of real estate, and we’re going to have an offer which isn’t a salary boost, but an offer that makes this a more desirable job.”