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Door County to receive WHEDA funding

Door County will see a boost from a state when it comes to closing gaps in housing availability. The county joins Marinette County and the Chequamagon Bay area as one of three applicants to receive money from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority through its rural workforce housing program. WHEDA has committed $10 million to the program which hopes to offer closing cost assistance, rehabilitation financing, small business and economic development loans, and community grants and services. State Senator Andre Jacque sits on the WHEDA Board of Directors and says Door County has put a lot of time and energy into this issue.

Thirteen communities applied for the pilot program, which had to show more than 25 percent of their county’s residents live in rural areas as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture. Jacque believes this will help employees who want to relocate to the area be able to find something they can afford.

 

In a press release from the Door County Economic Development Corporation, the organization saluted the design team that helped complete the application by highlighting the work of the 2019 housing study. You can read those comments below:

 

STURGEON BAY, WI - Door County has been selected as one of three pilot communities in Wisconsin as part of WHEDA’s (Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority) new Rural Affordable Workforce Housing Initiative.

In an effort by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to address the state’s shortage of rural affordable workforce housing is moving forward with the selection of three pilot communities and new financing tools for homebuyers and developers in rural areas. After gaining approvals from WHEDA’s board, the rural affordable workforce housing pilot attracted strong interest from communities throughout the state. WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro said the pilot selection process was rigorous and highly competitive.

The process prioritized applicants with readiness to create solutions that can work across rural Wisconsin. The selected communities identified diverse pilot teams with experienced “conveners”; demonstrated current land-use policies that support affordable workforce housing, and exhibited openness to innovative solutions with new collaborative partners.

WHEDA’s $10 million rural affordable workforce housing initiative including the community pilot and supplemental financing tools are funded by WHEDA operations with no state tax dollars involved. Beyond WHEDA’s investment of funds and staff, it will take the commitment of many public, private and nonprofit partners working together to turn the tide on housing issues in rural communities statewide.

Door County’s continued focus on improving and increasing access to affordable and decent housing in our community continues to be one of top priority, being named as a Pilot Community through this initiative will help to accelerate access to innovative solutions. The DCEDC Housing Study that was completed in 2019 was a key component in Door County’s selection as a pilot community along with the strong collaborations that exist in the community surrounding housing issues.

For the County to get to this point of being announced as a pilot project winner, it took the hard work and dedication of many individuals across the community; special thanks to Bret Bicoy of the Door County Community Foundation, Marty Olejniczak, Community Development Director for the City of Sturgeon Bay, and Mariah Goode & Rebecca Kerwin of the Door County Department of Land Use Services.

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