Mike McCourt, the owner of Murdick’s Fudge in Edgartown, has taken down the Help Wanted signs that hung in the window of his shop starting in early spring.

But he’s one of the lucky ones.

Many Island employers say the perennial hunt for seasonal help has been harder than ever this summer — exacerbated by low unemployment rates, restrictions on visa programs for foreign workers and a scarce availability of housing that somehow grows more scarce every year.

Summer labor shortages are not new to Martha’s Vineyard, but a number of business owners said their Help Wanted signs stayed up longer into the spring this year than in previous years. An unofficial count on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs last month turned up 16 help wanted signs in the short commercial stretch.

And among all the familiar trends, one stands out: employers who are willing and able to provide housing for their employees appear to be the ones having the most success.

“It’s necessary,” said Mr. McCourt, who subsidizes housing for nearly half the 30-person staff at Murdick’s. “You have to provide housing or else you don’t have employees,” he said.

Mr. McCourt said he also had good luck this year using the H2B visa lottery system that allows seasonal foreign workers to come to the U.S.

Dave Gaffey, manager of Nancy’s Restaurant, a busy, popular spot on harbor in Oak Bluffs, knows the reality of the summer housing problem all too well. But he said he is just not sure he can afford to take the step of providing housing to attract potential employees.

“Financially it’s a hard argument,” he said, adding that because the waterfront restaurant is open only for the summer, he is “not sure it’s worth the investment.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Gaffey said he is struggling to build his summer staff. He said three years ago he would have had a flood of applications at this time of year, but now there’s only a trickle. “We used to receive over a dozen applications a day,” he explained. “I’ve only had four since last Thursday.”

He said restrictions on visas for seasonal foreign workers has also been a factor.

The Department of Homeland Security issues 66,000 H2B visas nationally each year, and recently announced it would raise the cap by 30,000 for the remainder of 2019. But the program is often a roll of the dice for employees and employers alike. Out of 22 workers Mr. Gaffey recruited from the Republic of Serbia in the winter under the visa program, only eight have been able to secure their H-2B visa.

The Atlantic Restaurant in Edgartown faced a similar problem in the visa lottery system. Only 18 of 34 prospective foreign employees were awarded H-2B visas. But business manager Nicole Richard said while the problem of finding employees can include finding visas for foreign workers, more often than not it comes back to housing.

“Even if they are able to make it to the Island on a visa, we can’t guarantee housing,” Ms. Richard said.

A Facebook group MV Long-Term Housing Rentals is filled with posts from workers desperately searching for housing. Many are foreign nationals.

Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, bluntly acknowledged the problem. “The lack of affordable housing for both short term and year-round employees is a critical issue,” she said.

But she also said the downside for employers has an upside for employees, who have a wide array of choices for summer employment.

And for many, the choice comes down to seeking employers who are willing to help with housing.

That was the case for Josh Barnett, 30, a waiter at The Newes From America Pub in Edgartown. Mr. Barnett said he took a job at the Newes in part because it came with subsidized housing from the company that owns the pub and the adjacent Kelley House hotel. He pays $125 a week for a single room for the summer.

Mr. Barnett, who hails from Michigan, said he has been working summer jobs on the Island for a number of years.

“It’s been a problem for a long time, but it just keeps getting worse,” he said, referring to the housing shortage for the summer workforce.

“I got very lucky,” he added as he closed out his last accounts at the end of a busy Memorial Day weekend and headed out into a cold rain to his own room, provided by his employer.