Housing Outreach

Housing units

Housing is a crucial element of community economic development with many complex considerations, from affordability to quality and diversity. It is a central issue to the attraction and retention of community members. The shortage of housing in rural Wisconsin has far-reaching consequences that impact our local economy and overall quality of life.

Design WI Community Info Session ~ Event by Chequamegon Bay Regional Housing Coalition

Town Of Bell Community Center ~ June 6, 2024- 2-4pm

The team is coming to Cornucopia this fall to help sketch out a vision for a new senior housing development. This meeting is the first opportunity to learn more about the Design Wisconsin process and take part in this important community conversation

Thanks to a unique partnership between Bayfield County and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, the County is home to the first and only Housing Educator within the UW System. This pilot position means that Bayfield County communities can benefit from additional capacity and technical support at every step in the process of developing new housing – from assessing local needs and priorities, to building community support and crafting Requests for Proposals that attract the right partners to get the job done.

Helpful Resources for Local Government

Bayfield County Housing Readiness & Resources (PDF, 2 pgs, 289 KB)



Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority

State of Wisconsin
Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources

The (DEHCR) offers a broad range of program assistance & resources to address homelessness & support affordable housing, public infrastructure, household energy needs, & economic development opportunities.

Wisconsin Office of Rural Prosperity

WI Office of Rural Prosperity

Bringing Opportunity to Rural Wisconsin. A place for rural Wisconsin to find opportunities, celebrate our success and build a strong future. Welcome.


The Chequamegon Bay United Impact Land Trust (CheqBUILT) is an emerging community land trust (CLT) dedicated to increasing the inventory of permanently affordable homes for residents across the Chequamegon Bay Region of Lake Superior.

USDA-Rural Development: Committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. Through our programs, we help rural Americans in many ways https://www.rd.usda.gov/

Housing and Urban Development: www.hud.gov/hudprograms

Federal Housing Finance Agency: www.fhfa.gov

Housing Assistance Council: https://ruralhome.org/

Helpful Resources for Individuals

Northwest Regional Housing Program (PDF, 2 pgs, 196 KB)

Northwest Wisconsin Community Service Agency: https://northwest-csa.org/housing/

City of Washburn & Bayfield County Housing Authority: https://bayfieldcountyhousing.org/

HUD Rental Assistance: https://www.hud.gov/topics/rental_assistance

About the Housing Educator

The Housing Educator will help communities navigate and coordinate housing development processes in partnership with local governments and other stakeholders. Initial focus includes:

– Implementing community-based solutions and programs developed in partnership with the WHEDA Rural Affordable Workforce Housing Initiative, including local land trust model development, small developer engagement, cross-community coordination for scattered site development, and addressing housing-focused zoning needs.

– Supporting communities through the process of engaging developers with RFP issuance.

– Developing communication strategies to build equitable community awareness and fluency around housing needs and solutions.

The Housing Educator uses a community-driven approach to address local community housing needs in an effort to improve economic resiliency and overall quality of life. The Housing Educator also plays a lead role in supporting education and research related to rural housing development efforts that serve Bayfield County and other rural areas of Wisconsin by:

– Assessing housing market-related dynamics such as demand, supply, inputs (e.g., building supplies, labor, interest rates), population change, workforce needs, housing development strategies, and how these dynamics lead to different needs, outcomes, and appropriate goals.

– Providing guidance to communities as they navigate the complexities of housing development (e.g., dynamics between community, developers, and funders; coordination public-private interests and investments; pulling and supplying necessary data to inform grant applications, housing policies, and development decisions).

– Building organizational capacity among local governments to address emerging housing needs.

– Developing regional collaborations, partnerships, and educational responses (e.g. workshops, peer networks, facilitated processes) that meet these challenges and focus on working with state, local and tribal agencies to address housing challenges through community-led processes.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Bayfield County || Courthouse-117 E 5th Street, PO Box 218 || Washburn, WI  54891

711 for Wisconsin Relay (TDD)

Kelly Westlund, Housing Outreach Educator ||715-373-3286 || Email

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