Ivory Innovations has opened nominations for the fourth annual Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. Nominations for the prize will remain open until Jan. 14, 2022, and winners will be announced in May 2022.

This year, nominees—whether entrepreneurs, startups, public-private partnerships, public entities, or nonprofits—are encouraged to demonstrate how their approach can rapidly increase the affordable housing stock as the nation grapples with an ever-increasing housing shortage.

“We’re thrilled to see and support a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem of housing innovators and are looking forward to another round of amazing ideas,” says Abby Ivory, director of Ivory Innovations. “Since launching in 2018, the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability has reviewed more than 600 innovative solutions. We are already seeing these innovators and the trends they represent have an outsized impact, and look forward to identifying more through this year’s prize.”

More than $200,000 is awarded each year between winners in three award categories—construction and design, policy and regulatory reform, and finance. In addition to financial support, the Ivory Innovations network includes past nominees, capital partners, and leading research experts.

Ivory Innovations also announced this year’s top 25 finalists will be invited to join the Ivory Innovations Council, which includes 75 leading innovators from across the U.S. The intentional effort aims to support and grow the network of housing affordability innovators.

Previous winners of the Ivory Prize include Factory_OS, Entekra, and BamCore in the construction and design category; The Alley Flat Initiative, Symbium, and Impact Justice/The Homecoming Project in the policy and regulatory reform category; and Landed, Home Partners of America, Rhino, and Keep By Framework in the finance category.

"Winning the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability has been an invaluable asset for our efforts to help improve access to homeownership for essential professionals, like teachers, nurses, and first responders, which is part of the solution to address growing wealth inequality," says Alex Lofton, Landed’s co-founder. "Since winning in 2018, we have expanded into several additional markets encompassing millions of these essential community members in no small part to the support of Ivory Innovations."

Over the past three years, prize nominees have been featured at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, University of California at Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation, and the Innovative Housing Showcase, co-hosted by the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additionally, six affordable pathways have also been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The prize also gives college students the opportunity to become the next generation of housing affordability experts, with the creation of the Housing Affordability Innovations Lab. The class, a partnership between Ivory Innovations and the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, is now led by housing researcher and professor Andra Ghent. The class allows students the chance to investigate and perform due diligence on the companies nominated, giving them insights into the housing market, as well as valuable contacts in the housing industry.