Newswise — Today, Ivory Innovations announced the Top 25 Finalists for the 2022 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. Finalists for the prize demonstrated ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to housing affordability and were selected from 170 nominations. In the Construction and Design category, finalists include organizations focused on labor force education and the deployment of new materials and technology, while the Public Policy and Regulatory Reform category features multiple city-level innovations that are addressing the critical issue of homelessness and eviction prevention. In the Finance category, finalists 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,” said 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 now evaluated more than 600 innovative approaches to housing affordability in areas of construction and design, finance, and public policy and regulatory reform. Over that period, 11 winners have been awarded more than $650,000 in prize money. In addition to financial support, Ivory Innovations connects its Top 25 Finalists with leading practitioners, capital partners, student interns, and pro bono consulting or capacity building services. Additionally, Ivory Innovations is partnering with the Terner Housing Lab to send a top entrant through their accelerator program.
Ivory Innovations is also excited to announce a more intentional effort to support and grow the network of housing affordability innovators. This year’s Top 25 finalists will be invited to join the Ivory Innovations Council, which includes 75 leading innovators from across the United States. Finalists for the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability are selected by the Ivory Innovations’ Advisory Board, which is composed of some of the top minds in housing across the U.S.
This year’s finalists are (listed by category and alphabetical order):
Construction and Design
Connect Homes | Los Angeles, CA, USA
Connect Homes designs, builds, and installs modern, green, award-winning single-family homes and interim housing solutions. Using its revolutionary modular platform, Connect builds the equivalent of a medium-sized home every six days – at a fraction of the cost and waste of site-built alternatives. The company’s radically simpler process and beautiful structures are evidence that the housing crisis can be successfully overcome through innovation.
Eightvillage | Atlanta, GA, USA
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 ADUs for homeowners in Atlanta, GA to create more affordable housing options in Atlanta’s low-income neighborhoods.
Forterra Forest to Home Initiative | Seattle, WA, USA
Forterra’s Forest to Home initiative brings together a coalition of Tribes, communities of color, land trusts, and architects to re-engineer the affordable housing supply chain. At the center of the initiative is an all Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) Modular prototype. The CLT Modular prototype replaces traditional carbon-intensive building practices and materials and lowers the cost of construction. It yields a triple bottom line solution to affordable housing bringing environmental sustainability, economic development and social equity. This is a long-term sustainable solution for future generations.
Home Builders Institute | Washington D.C., USA
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. In order to meet the needs to make fundamental changes, HBI is working on bringing public and private industry partners together. HBI’s research shows that to meet the nation’s housing demand, the residential construction industry will need to train and place 2.2 million new workers within the next three years. HBI is addressing the worker shortage head on. To fill the severe worker shortage, HBI is advocating and working towards increased training, compensation, diversity and productivity.
KairosXR | San Francisco, CA, USA
KairosXR combines traditional online training techniques for various trades with virtual reality technology to provide a more immersive training experience than traditional online training. It bridges the gap between effectiveness and availability for users. With the changes in workforce training and education brought upon by Covid-19, KairosXR provides a solution to recruit more young professionals to skilled trade positions.
Novin Development: ProForMap | Walnut Creek, CA, USA
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 | Newbern, AL, USA
Rural Studio is an off-campus design-build program, rooted in Hale County and part of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture of Auburn University. The Rural Studio is developing a scalable, sustainable, agile, and resilient delivery process for beautiful, 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™ | Ham Lake, MN, USA
Tstud's™ mission is to develop and inspire sustainable, tangible, energy efficient building solutions. 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. Tstud™ builds have owners already saving 15%-75% on their HVAC costs depending on insulation type with savings not just annually, but for the lifetime of the structure.
Volumetric Building Companies | Philadelphia, PA, USA
"Improving lives. Building the future." We work each day to achieve this with a combination of experience, innovation, and brute-force effort. We see our competitors not as the existing construction infrastructure (Architects & GCs) but as the inefficiency in construction methodology. We must continue to enhance value in our method while supporting Architects & GCs to embrace new technologies.
Blackstar Stability | Washington D.C., USA
Blackstar Stability expands equitable ownership of affordable single-family homes by attacking predatory lending practices and restructuring distressed debt products. It works with families who have land contracts and similar forms of seller financing to refinance their homes with traditional mortgages, improve their properties, and reduce their costs.
Builders Patch | New York, NY, USA
Builders Patch is a secure, cloud-based platform to manage multi-family housing deals from acquisition to asset management. The platform is automating due diligence collection, collation, underwriting, and loan approval. The underwriting and closing process will take half the time it normally does and free up developers, lenders and governments to line up more projects/units for construction faster and cheaper.
Builders Patch is the only housing finance portal in the affordable housing space. This very structured financing space is riddled with inefficiencies and has had no recent innovation for decades. Our platform is creating an ecosystem of lenders and developers. We will be able to approve tax credits, create new incentives and financing structures, underwrite more construction loans and ultimately build more housing quickly.
DASH Fund | Baltimore, MD, USA
The DASH Fund provides flexible capital to small entrepreneurs who acquire, renovate, and re-sell single-family homes in Baltimore neighborhoods that have historically suffered from disinvestment. The DASH Fund has a double bottom line: (1) helping small, mostly minority developers in Baltimore to grow their small businesses; and (2) providing low- and moderate-income homebuyers with access to renovated and affordable homes for which they do not have to compete against cash investors.
Doorkee | New York, NY, USA
Doorkee empowers tenants to earn a rent refund (>$1,100 on average) when they move out just by helping Doorkee find the next renter for their current apartment. We never charge tenants broker fees and give special assistance to rent voucher applicants who otherwise have a tough time finding an apartment without us.
Home By Hand | New Orleans, LA, USA
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.
Quicken Loans’ Rocket Community Fund Make It Home Program | Detroit, MI, USA
Make It Home, a Detroit based financing program, 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 | Seattle, WA, USA
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. True Footage is currently building alternative valuation strategies to evaluate systemic pricing gaps.
Trust Neighborhoods | Kansas City, MO, USA
Trust Neighborhoods is a Kansas City based nonprofit creating community-controlled real estate where gentrification threatens displacement. Trust Neighborhoods has designed and piloted a new, innovative approach to tackle affordable housing: the mixed-income neighborhood trust, or MINT, which owns and operates a portfolio of rental housing under community control to maintain permanent affordability.
Public Policy and Regulatory Reform
BC Housing | Vancouver, BC, Canada
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 | Birmingham, AL, USA
Build UP tackles root causes of intergenerational poverty--low educational attainment rates, low-skilled workers lacking social and economic capital and mobility, and unstable, unaffordable housing to rebuild the minority middle class and close racial wealth disparities. Build UP’s value proposition redefines what affordable housing is by taking a long-game approach to rebuilding and owning from within a community. This model, at the intersection of high-quality education, workforce development, and community revitalization, results in dignified, affordable homeownership and retention of talent and wealth, both of which seed stable home and school experiences for generations to come.
City of Cambridge (AHO program) | Cambridge, MA, USA
Cambridge, MA's 100% Affordable Housing Overlay significantly promotes more dense affordable housing development by non-profit developers, who often get priced by market-rate developers and are mired by cumbersome zoning and project approvals.
Community Solutions | New York, NY, USA
Community Solutions is a non profit that leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 90 communities working to measurably end homelessness and proving it is possible. Community Solutions is also employing new nonprofit-owned models of development and financing to help communities close the housing gap.
DC FLEX | Washington D.C., USA
DC Flex is a rent subsidy program that efficiently deploys federal rental assistance funds. It allows residents to choose how much financial assistance they need to pay rent each month. Unlike other programs, where rental assistance goes to landlords, DC Flex assistance goes directly to residents.
DesegregateCT | Hartford, CT, USA
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 our housing stock. Formed in June 2020, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the renewed conversation on racial justice, our work leverages original research and grassroots organizing in service of public education and policy change at both the state and local levels.
HomeStart | Boston, MA, USA
HomeStart identifies and delivers solutions to homelessness. After recognizing that nonpayment eviction was one of the largest drivers of homelessness, 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.
LA Room and Board | Los Angeles, CA, USA
Los Angeles 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 in order to provide low & no cost transitional housing designed to equip students with the tools they need to become more self-sufficient and to ensure they complete their college degree program.
The 2022 Top 10 finalists will be released in April and final winners announced in May 2022. More than $200,000 in prize money will be distributed between at least three winners selected across the three award categories — construction and design, public policy and regulatory reform, and finance.
About Ivory Innovations: Ivory Innovations is a nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing innovation in housing affordability. Ivory Innovations promotes the most compelling ideas by convening industry experts, inspiring students to tackle housing issues, sourcing and supporting the best innovative housing entrepreneurs, and putting these innovations into practice. For more information about the Ivory Prize and Ivory Innovations visit www.ivory-innovations.org.