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Housing Struggles are affecting Deputies in Door County

"Just under two years I’ve been making that commute from Algoma to Door County and during that time, also been looking for housing up here"
Housing Struggles are affecting Deputies in Door County
Posted at 8:41 PM, Aug 15, 2023

DOOR COUNTY (NBC 26) — Driving to save money, some new deputies say it's too expensive to live in Door County so they have to live elsewhere.

"Get in one car and then get into another car," said Deputy Clayton Paral of the Door County Sheriff’s Office regarding his work week.

"Just under two years I’ve been making that commute from Algoma to Door County and during that time, also been looking for housing up here," said Paral.

Deputy Paral says he would like to live in Door County, it just isn't feasible.

"A lot of the starter homes stuff like that just aren't around and if they are around there, you know, $100,000 more than what you'd pay in a neighboring community," said Paral.

In 2023, the Wisconsin Realtors Association reported Door County as having the most expensive median price for home purchasing in Northeast Wisconsin at $360,000.

We compared it to other counties nearby and found Kewaunee was more than $140,000 less.

Mariah Goode, the Door County Director of Land Use Services says they have been working on these housing issues for a while.

"There's a shortage everywhere but Door County has some challenges that are unique to other areas," said Goode.

Goode says their economy has a big dependency on tourism.

"That really puts a lot of pressure on prices as far as you know what people can afford to actually live and work here compared to what people who might be buying a second home can afford,” said Goode.

Entities like the Workforce Housing Lending Corporation have been established to help with these issues, by utilizing a revolving loan fund.

"Let's say the next 15 to 20 years that we'll be able to bring in probably, hopefully, 500 or so affordable units, and those would be restricted to be-you have to be living in them year round and they have to stay affordable," said Goode.

There is also the Door County Housing Partnership using what they call the Community Land Trust Model.

"The Housing Partnership retains ownership of the land. The income-qualified buyer buys the house, we pay the difference between what's actually affordable for that size house and family compared to what the housing cost to develop,” said Goode.

Goode said housing shortages are happening across America and have gotten worse since the pandemic.

"A lot of pressure on the housing market and its wages are not keeping up with that pressure, nor can they I don't think," said Goode.

For Deputy Paral the addition of these affordable housing units would help tremendously.

"It's about a 45–55-minute trip, you know, 20 minutes to get to the station, grab my squad, and then head up here is another 40 minutes to get up here to serve my community," said Paral.