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Door County Pilot Design Team Kickoff

December 18, 2020

On Friday, December 18th, members of the Door County Pilot Design Team and representatives from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) convened for the first time to kickoff the Rural Affordable Workforce Housing Pilot. The pilot design team is made up of representatives from each community selected to participate in the pilot series initiated by WHEDA. Therwere many familiar faces and new connections made that dayand although participants missed not being able to see each other in person, there was much accomplished to begin setting the course for the work ahead.  

The main objectives for the day were to establish a shared vision for the work, define the design question to solve for over the next six months, and to establish an initial set of core focus areas to guide the next phase of the pilot design process: Research and Engagement.  

What problem are we trying to solve for?

While the issues surrounding the affordable workforce housing challenge around the state are known, the team wanted to take the time to craft a design question which captured how stakeholders saw this challenge showing up on the ground in Door County. Here is the design question the group landed on:

How can Door County become a community which creates and preserves quality affordable places for workforce households to live?

Core focus areas in affordable workforce housing 

Based on the design question, the team began evaluating the root causes at play in the local workforce housing affordability dynamic.  

From this analysis, the next step was to prioritize a set of core focus areas that the team felt were the most pressing issues in Door County, and to guide where they would seek more information, and who would be needed to connect with to learn more. 

  • FINANCING : how developerscommunities, and prospective homebuyers can get access to financing options to build and purchase housing which is affordable to working households 
  • NEW CONSTRUCTION : how new single family and multifamily homes can be designed and built affordably for working households in Door County 
  • PUBLIC PERCEPTION : how to change the ways that Door County community members think about affordable housing, so that they may see it as an asset to their community 

Next steps

The next phase of the pilot design process, Research & Engagement, involves the team connecting with those impacted by the affordable workforce housing challenge in Door County. In order to tackle the work in each core focus area, the team divided up into small groups based on interest area and expertiseOver the next few weeks, they will be connecting with area experts, practitioners, and individuals impacted by the local workforce housing affordability challenge, to share their insights on the issues at play and potential solutions. Each group will design an engagement activity (think focus group or interview) to dig into the issues and learn from those impacted by the affordable workforce housing challenge, as well as those working to solve it 

Read about the Research & Engagement Phase