Ivory Innovations has announced the top 25 finalists for the 2022 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. Demonstrating ambitious, feasible, and scaleable solutions to housing affordability, finalists were selected from 170 nominations across three categories: construction and design, finance, and public policy and regulatory reform.
In construction and design, finalists include organizations focused on labor force education and the deployment of new materials and technology, while the policy and regulatory reform category features multiple city-level innovations that are addressing the critical issue of homelessness and eviction prevention. Lastly, in finance, front-runners include organizations deploying new funding models to support vulnerable populations and software that increases the efficiency of the housing market.
“These innovators are creating tangible solutions to the challenge of housing affordability, which has likely never been greater,” says Jenna Louie, director of operations and strategy for Ivory Innovations. “We’re excited to highlight and invite this year’s finalists to join the Ivory Innovations ecosystem to increase our overall impact on supporting the solutions that impact housing affordability.”
Now in its fourth year, Ivory Innovations has evaluated more than 600 innovative approaches to housing affordability. Over that period, 11 winners have been awarded more than $650,000 in prize money and have been connected with leading practitioners, capital partners, student interns, and pro bono consulting, or capacity building services.
The 25 finalists include:
Construction and Design
- Connect Homes: Connect Homes designs, builds, and installs modern, green, single-family homes and interim housing solutions. Using its revolutionary modular platform, Connect builds the equivalent of a medium-sized home every six days.
- Eightvillage: Eightvillage is a design and development firm focused on placemaking and community building. The firm started an initiative in 2019 called “Backyard ATL” that builds, designs, and manages accessory dwelling units for homeowners in Atlanta.
- Forterra Forest to Home Initiative: Forterra’s Forest to Home initiative brings together a coalition of tribes, communities of color, land trusts, and architects to reengineer the affordable housing supply chain. At the center of the initiative is an all cross-laminated timber modular prototype.
- Home Builders Institute (HBI): The worker shortage in residential construction is severely hurting housing supply and affordability. To solve the crisis, HBI is thinking of new, innovative ways to train skilled workers for the industry.
- KairosXR: KairosXR combines traditional online training techniques for various trades with virtual reality technology to provide a more immersive training experience than traditional online training.
- Novin Development's ProforMap: ProforMap is on a data-driven mission to increase production of affordable housing by finding and evaluating suitable properties for development or preservation and informing better housing policy.
- Rural Studio: Rural Studio is an off-campus, design-build program that is developing a scaleable, sustainable, agile, and resilient delivery process for well-designed, high-performance affordable homes that can be titled as real property while also supporting an industry of home building in underserved rural communities.
- Tstud: The BareNaked Tstud offers a simple solution to impact the energy efficiency of any building structure by almost eliminating the thermal bridge standard lumber allows.
- Volumetric Building Cos.: Volumetric Building Cos. is a volumetric modular business that simplifies issues by integrating architecture, logistics, manufacturing, and construction into a single package.
- Blackstar Stability: Blackstar Stability expands equitable ownership of affordable single-family homes by attacking predatory lending practices and restructuring distressed debt products.
- Builders Patch: Builders Patch is a secure, cloud-based platform to manage multifamily housing deals from acquisition to asset management. The platform is automating due diligence collection, collation, underwriting, and loan approval.
- DASH Fund: The DASH Fund provides flexible capital to small entrepreneurs who acquire, renovate, and resell single-family homes in Baltimore neighborhoods that have historically suffered from disinvestment.
- Doorkee: Doorkee empowers tenants to earn a rent refund by connecting the person moving out of an apartment with the person who wants to move in.
- Home by Hand: Home by Hand is a nonprofit affordable housing developer committed to providing pathways to homeownership for low- and moderate-income New Orleanians in a manner that both builds family assets and supports neighborhood revitalization and resilience.
- Rocket Community Fund's Make It Home Program: Make It Home allows for tenants in underinvested neighborhoods to become homeowners by providing loans and resources to buy and renovate blighted and tax foreclosed homes.
- True Footage: True Footage is building technology and a new community of appraisers to collect cleaner data and deliver a more standardized appraisal product that leverages data to inform and validate comparable sales and valuation analysis.
- Trust Neighborhoods: Trust Neighborhoods is a Kansas City-based nonprofit creating community-controlled real estate where gentrification threatens displacement.
Public Policy and Regulatory Reform
- BC Housing: BC Housing is a Vancouver-based public affordable housing provider whose rapid modular supportive housing programs are now being replicated throughout major Canadian cities.
- Build UP: Build UP tackles root causes of intergenerational poverty to rebuild the minority middle class and close racial wealth disparities.
- City of Cambridge (AHO Program): Cambridge, Massachusetts' 100% Affordable Housing Overlay significantly promotes more dense affordable housing development by nonprofit developers, who often get priced out by market-rate developers and are mired by cumbersome zoning and project approvals.
- Community Solutions' Built for Zero: Community Solutions is a nonprofit that leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 90 communities working to measurably end homelessness.
- DC Flex: DC Flex is a rent subsidy program that efficiently deploys federal rental assistance funds. Unlike other programs, where rental assistance goes to landlords, DC Flex assistance goes directly to residents.
- DesegregateCT: DesegregateCT is a pro-homes coalition of neighbors and nonprofits advocating for more equitable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable land use policies in Connecticut, with a focus on expanding the diversity and supply of the housing stock.
- HomeStart: HomeStart developed The Renew Collaborative, a market-driven eviction prevention program that saves property owners from the expense of eviction and eliminates episodes of homelessness by way of nonpayment eviction for the working poor and households with subsidies.
- Los Angeles Room & Board: LA Room & Board’s mission is to end college student hunger and homelessness by partnering with university housing programs and campus adjacent property owners to reimagine the use of their vacant spaces.
The 2022 top 10 finalists will be released in April and final winners announced in May. More than $200,000 in prize money will be distributed between at least three winners selected across the three award categories.