Door County has an affordable housing problem

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Financial Partnership

For a thriving Door County Community...

...there have to be affordable homes.

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. housing challenges have long been unique. Year-round residents and potential 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 due to a healthy economy and increased tourism due to a room tax, as well as 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 described below, 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 here and work hard, people who are vital to our quality of life and our community’s well-being.

a helping hand

Here's how Door County Housing Partnership hopes to make a difference:

How can we help?


Frequently Asked Question

The new homes and apartments are fulfilling needs of seasonal residents, retirees and others, but the pricing is based on market conditions which is generally higher than our year round workforce can afford. A critical part of Door County’s future is attracting and retaining individuals and families who want to put down permanent roots, strengthening our community.
The houses we are proposing are specifically for our workforce who support our economic infrastructure. They are teachers, nurses, police, hospitality workers, nursing assistants, social workers. These people are essential to our welfare. They are eligible for mortgages, but not mortgages large enough to purchase market priced homes.
There is a disconnect between market rate and workforce income. If 30-35% of gross salary is required to cover mortgage or rent there is not enough left over to cover health care, child care, food, the expenses of life. So our workforce simply doesn’t have an opportunity to move forward. To provide an opportunity for home ownership through subsidies enhances everyone’s ability to put down roots and support the community.
No. Subsidies are obtained primarily through private donors and other special programs. For instance, we have received land through the cooperation of the County of Door and the City of Sturgeon Bay as well as a private donor.
No. Applicants must be able to attain a mortgage on their own. They may not own other homes or properties. They must live in Door County a minimum of 10 months per year and be part of the year round workforce.
No. The critical component of the Housing Trust is that we retain ownership of the land and through certain resale stipulations the homes will always remain affordable, no matter how many owners inhabit a house over time.