For too many working residents of Door County, finding a home is a challenge. Traditionally a popular tourist destination and second-home market, Door County offers our working families what are sometimes unsurmountable obstacles to home ownership. Year-round residents have had to compete with second-home seekers for housing. Local businesses have struggled to find seasonal help due to a shortage of short-term rental options. In more recent years, increased job growth, increased tourism, and a population aging more quickly than the rest of the state have compounded the challenge.
Door County’s shortage of housing for working households and seasonal workers, as quantified in the 2019 housing study, presents a serious threat to the preservation of the county’s character, economy, and vitality. Door County is aging much faster than the rest of the state and country, yet younger people are not moving to the county, at least in part due to the lack of affordable housing options. This age imbalance is unsustainable and leads to inadequate human resources for essential services.
Our work helps bridge the gap between a market priced home and home ownership for working families. On one side of that gap is property values that are out of reach for many working families, coupled with an alarmingly low inventory of modestly priced homes. On the other side of the gap is the modest income of many who live and work, people who are vital to our quality of life and our community’s well-being.