Ivory Innovations has announced the top 10 finalists for the 2021 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability, an annual award that recognizes ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to address housing affordability in the U.S.

Selected from a list of top 25 finalists and originally from 160 nominations across 39 states, the Ivory Prize contenders present tangible solutions as Americans are increasingly being priced out of safe and affordable housing. Winners will be announced May 18 via livestream.

“We are at a crisis moment in terms of affordability driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a shortage of existing housing inventory, disruptions in the supply chains, escalating costs, and exacerbated long-standing racial inequities. These are massive issues that demand new and innovative solutions,” says Kent Colton, chair of the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability advisory board. “Focusing on the entrepreneurs and sharing their innovative ideas is what the Ivory Prize is all about, and this year’s top 10 finalists have the potential to make a decisive impact.”

In its third year, the Ivory Prize recognizes solutions to affordability across three categories: construction and design, finance, and public policy and regulatory reform.

The finalists will be eligible for more than $200,000 in prize money that will be distributed between at least three winners selected from each of the award components. In addition to financial support, the Ivory Innovations’ network includes interns, capital partners, and strategic planning.

This year, Ivory Innovations is also partnering with the Housing Lab at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley to send a top entrant through its accelerator.

The finalists in each category include:

Construction and Design

  • Sustainable Bamboo with BamCore, Windsor, California: BamCore is a studless framing solution using timber bamboo to deliver customized, code-compliant wall systems that are redefining the low-rise built environment. With recent spikes in lumber prices, BamCore’s bamboo-based framing has the potential to address the crippling rise in material costs, provide a more climate positive supply chain, and reduce the need for skilled labor.
  • 3D Printing with ICON, Austin, Texas: Using proprietary 3D-printing technology, robotics, software, and advanced materials, ICON is shifting the paradigm of home building. In March 2020, the company completed a series of 400-square-foot, 3D-printed homes that will serve as new beginnings for six formerly homeless people as part of the Community First! Village.
  • Healthier Buildings with Curtis + Ginsberg Architects (C+GA), New York City: Omni New York’s Park Avenue Green, designed by C+GA, is currently the largest passive house affordable housing development in the country, making the critical connection between sustainability, energy efficiency, and affordability.


  • Rehabbing Lives and Homes with Acts Housing, Milwaukee: Acts Housing provides a replicable model that has enabled more than 950 families to purchase and rehabilitate distressed properties into stable homes. Through home buyer education, real estate services, and support in the home rehab process, Acts Housing aids in all steps under one roof.
  • Preserving Affordability with Housing Impact Fund, Charlotte, North Carolina: The Housing Impact Fund is a social impact equity fund to preserve and create affordability for thousands of Charlotte residents earning between 30% and 80% of the area median income in neighborhoods of opportunity.
  • Preparing for Homeownership with Keep by Framework, Boston: Framework Homeownership's Keep by Framework helps home buyers understand the home buying process. With an emphasis on first-time, first-generation potential homeowners, Keep guides users through the entire process of purchasing a home, with a focus on how to assist buyers confronting structural and persistent racial barriers.
  • Senior Home Sharing with Silvernest, Denver: A home-sharing platform, Silvernest provides empty nesters, baby boomers, and those with extra space with the opportunity to find a housemate and create additional income.

Public Policy and Regulatory Reform

  • Accelerating ADUs with City of Pasadena, Pasadena, California: The Pasadena Second Unit ADU Program provides comprehensive assistance for financing, designing, permitting, and constructing a new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in the City of Roses. The program aims to offer housing for very low-income Section 8 households and could be a model for other cities in the future.
  • Adding New Voices in Development with CoUrbanize, Cambridge, Massachusetts: CoUrbanize is an online platform solution that connects developers and planners with their neighbors. With the COVID-19 pandemic, CoUrbanize has become a resource for community members to continue to engage in development processes while in-person public/community meetings are on hold.
  • Housing After Incarceration with Impact Justice/The Homecoming Project, Oakland, California: The Homecoming Project is a program that ensures successful reentry back into communities by providing safe housing and a welcoming host. Formerly incarcerated people are able to integrate more easily into the community by quick placement into stable housing right out of prison.