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Not a new struggle. But a new loan program in Door County could help with affordable housing issues

Posted at 4:51 PM, Sep 11, 2023
  • The Door County Community Foundation has partnered with NeighborWorks Green Bay to fund a revolving loan program for affordable housing.
  • Launched on September 8th, the Workforce Housing Lending Corporation was implemented to attract developers to build in Door County.
  • They have raised nearly three-million dollars towards the five-million dollar loan pool they hope to have.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

One Door County group has partnered with NeighborWorks Green Bay to try and tackle the issue of affordable housing. I'm your Door County Katlyn Holt and they tell me this project has been in the works for about three years.

Affordable housing is not a new struggle in Door County.

Groups like the Door County Community Foundation have partnered with NeighborWorks Green Bay to launch what they hope will be a solution to this issue.

These groups have created the, “Workforce Housing Lending Corporation,” which they launched on September 8th. The Door County Community Foundation is the group that connects the community on issues to create a solution and NeighborWorks is the expert on housing programs. The goal to this partnership, Bret Bicoy says is simple.

"If you are fully employed, you ought to be able to have a safe quality place to live," said Bicoy.

President and CEO of Door County Community Foundation Bret Bicoy says currently this is not the way it is for many hard-working people, and they hope to change that.

Due to the county being on a peninsula, Bicoy says construction costs are higher here than other areas and this loan program can help attract developers to the area.

"Create a $5 million loan pool that will help allow us to provide these kinds of low-interest flexible loans to developers to help cover the gap that they have in financing to make these projects affordable," Bicoy said.

Donations from WHEDA, the county and private donations have gotten them to about $3 million of their targeted $5 million loan pool.

To build affordable units, Bicoy says developers often will look for layers of funding.

"What an affordable developer will do is look for a funding cake, a series of layers of financing, some of that comes from WHEDA, some of that might come from the Housing and Urban Development Department of the Federal Government, some of them may come from local municipalities and then traditional banks," explained Bicoy.

They have created a new funding layer, a Door County-specific source of money where it will be lent out in a revolving way.

He says across a generation they'll build hundreds of affordable units throughout Door County.

"We need to create a tool that makes sure that every fully employed person has a decent, safe, quality place to live and that's why we're doing this," Bicoy said.

If you would like to donate to the Workforce Housing Lending corporation to support those who work in finding affordable housing you can find more information here.