Carrie Caldwell, a fifth grade teacher at the Tisbury School, has moved around the Island 10 times in the last six months. Her next move will be her last, after she won a lottery Tuesday for a three-acre parcel of land off Quammox Road on Chappaquiddick.

“[I’m] beyond excited, beyond grateful,” Ms. Caldwell told the Gazette after her name was called. “I think more than anything I feel grateful just that the opportunity was out there.”

Select board meeting room was full. — Zach Harris

Held at the Edgartown select board meeting on the first floor of the town hall, the affordable housing lottery was done in conjunction with the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority and the Edgartown affordable housing committee. The lottery included 15 hopeful landowners who had qualified. The meeting was also streamed on Zoom. Board chairman Margaret Serpa pulled the names from an old wooden box. Selections were made in descending order with Ms. Caldwell’s name called first.

The meeting room was filled with over 20 people and at one point more chairs had to be set out to accommodate the group. Mark Hess, the town affordable housing committee chairman, lamented what that indicated about the scarcity of affordable housing on the Island.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people here which is not great, but somebody is going to get a great property today,” Mr. Hess said. “If you’re not picked today, keep trying, it will happen some day, we appreciate your patience and your hard work.”

The Chasin family created the Quammox West subdivision, which included one lot set aside for affordable housing. Households earning up to 150 per cent area median income, which is about $110,000 for a one-person household, were eligible to apply. Ms. Caldwell will be given the deed-restricted land at no cost, and will pay for construction out of her own pocket.

“It’s been quite a process and we appreciate all the effort that the individual participants have put in,” said David Vigneault, executive director of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, at the drawing.

Ms. Caldwell said she first moved to the Island after graduating from college in 1995. She returned in 2015, but held a job teaching at a boarding school on the mainland. About a year ago she decided she wanted to be on Island full time, knowing full well how hard it would be to find stable housing.

“It’s been a fight to be here,” Ms. Caldwell said. “The last 10, 11 months have been the hardest of my life.”

Having lived on Chappy briefly in the past, Ms. Caldwell said she is familiar with its rural landscape and is committed to planting native vegetation and building a house which fits in with the island within the Island.

“I really want to build as green as possible,” Ms. Caldwell said.

She said too that she would like to have a roommate — partly because living on Chappy alone could get lonely, but also because she knows from experience how hard it is to find housing on the Island.

“Preferably a teacher,” she said of her potential roommate.

Mr. Hess urged the 14 people who were not selected to hang in there.

“We know what the Island means to you and your children. You don’t want to leave and we’re trying to remedy that situation,” Mr. Hess said. “It’s heartbreaking to see so many people in need of a good, affordable home that work so hard on the Island here.”