In 1985, WHEDA launched the Demonstration of Energy Efficient Rehabilitation (DEER) program. Using WHEDA surplus reserves, DEER offered short-term loans of up to $55,000 to eligible sponsors to acquire old, deteriorated homes, and renovate them with a focus on energy-savings. Participation in the program required each sponsor to publicly present the energy-efficiency methods used in their rehab projects. These rehabbed homes were then sold to low- or moderate-income home buyers.
During the 1985-86 fiscal year, DEER funded 20 projects across Wisconsin, totaling $965,070 in loans to non-profit housing organizations, local governments, and schools that had construction classes as part of their curriculum.