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Door County Challenges

“Cape Cod of the Midwest”

Door County has emerged as one of the premiere vacation destinations and coveted home for many - tourist, seasonal and permanent residents. The truth of the matter is, however, that a whopping 31% of Door County households struggle to cover monthly expenses such as housing, childcare, transportation, health care and phone services.

Door County’s real estate* is increasingly geared toward vacation homes and rental units. This drives up housing and land costs beyond what a typical family could generally hope to afford. Coupled with long standing shortages of rental units, seasonal worker housing, and increased tourism - there is a shortfall of owner occupied housing, workforce housing, and senior housing. The future of Door County depends on people who can build an affordable, quality life.


United Way identifies this group of residents using the acronym ALICE*, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households are hardworking members of the community who are employed (often with multiple jobs) yet do not earn enough to keep up with basic living costs.  Men and women of all ages and races who go to work every day but still walk a financial tightrope. 64% of persons under age 25 in Door County fall into the ALICE category.  Of those residents age 65 and older, 42% are ALICE households. 

Of Door County’s working population (16 years and over), 55 percent are full-time or part-time employees. The Door County Pulse* reports that 78 percent of Door County jobs pay less than $20 per hour despite a cost of living that increases faster than inflation.  

Affordable Homes Needed

Door County Habitat is one of many organizations working to address challenges our friends and neighbors have in finding affordable, decent homes and to meet the needs of ALICE households. Organizations such as Habitat, Door County Housing Partnership, Door County Economic Development Corporation, plus a variety of local and state government agencies have begun a coordinated effort to pursue affordable housing and home ownership.

We need your help to ensure that affordable homes can be available, financed, and remain affordable for Door County generations to come. Together we can put ALICE families on a pathway to prosperity in our community.

*Find these reports in  Press and Related News

410 N. 14th Avenue
Sturgeon Bay WI, 54235

410 N. 14th Avenue
Sturgeon Bay WI, 54235