BYLINE: Ivory Innovations

Newswise — Ivory Innovations, a leading Utah-based non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the housing affordability crisis, has named four winners of the 2024 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability.

Now in its sixth year, this competition celebrates the work of innovative organizations making an impact in housing affordability in three areas of focus: construction and design, finance, and policy and regulatory reform.

“The winners of the 2024 Ivory Prize are a testament to the power of bold new ideas in housing,” said Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes and founder of Ivory Innovations. “Housing affordability is a continued and growing challenge for millions of Americans and we need innovative solutions of all types to make a difference in the housing industry. We invite you to join us in learning about and celebrating new housing approaches that have the potential to make exceptional positive change.”

Ivory Innovations is headquartered at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, where it engages students in its efforts, through an annual entrepreneurial competition called Hack-A-House, as well as scholarships, a course on housing innovation and internships associated with the Ivory Prize search.

The four winners, selected from more than 200 participants, have emerged as champions of innovation, demonstrating outstanding ambition, feasibility and scalability in their efforts to tackle the urgent issue of housing affordability. Ivory Innovations will distribute a total of $300,000 to support these organization’s transformative initiatives.

Through Villa’s "asset-light infill model," this California home builder implements housing density at scale while maintaining a dedication to thoughtful design. The City of San Diego’s ADU Bonus Program allows for the creation of much-needed “missing middle” housing by creating an effective local incentive to build accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. The Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County’s Housing Production Fund allocates funds to the development of more housing in the county and specifically more affordable housing. Finally, FirstRepair builds on the revolutionary work of Evanston, Ill., where leaders passed a reparations program, benefiting communities subjected to historical housing discrimination, in the form of a housing-dedicated payment.

Additional details about the four winners are included below and at

  1. Villa | San Francisco, Calif. | Construction & Design Winner – Using an asset-light approach to deploy housing in missing middle infill locations, Villa is prepared and committed to meeting the housing needs of communities across America.

“The root cause of America's housing affordability and availability challenges is decades of housing underproduction,” said Sean Roberts, CEO of Villa, a California-based homebuilder. “The housing shortage is even more severe for people seeking smaller, entry-level homes in desirable locations where they want to live, work and go to school. Our mission at Villa is simple: to be the easiest, fastest, and most cost-efficient way to build homes. We are focused on building these much-needed homes in infill locations using prefabricated construction and we're excited to continue to grow Villa with the enhanced support from the Ivory Innovations ecosystem."

  1. Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County: Housing Production Fund | Kensington, Md. | Finance Winner – This Maryland county uses an innovative funding and development model to create mixed-income social housing, with 30% of units dedicated to low-income families.

“The Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) of Montgomery County is honored that our Housing Production Fund (HPF) was selected as a 2024 Ivory Prize winner and we are proud to be recognized as a ‘housing visionary,’” HOC President Chelsea Andrews said. “The HPF is revolutionizing the way affordable housing is financed and its wisdom has been validated not only by the Ivory Prize award judges, but by the communities across the country that already are replicating it to meet their own affordable housing needs.”

  1. The City of San Diego: ADU Bonus Program | San Diego, Calif. | Policy & Regulatory Reform Co-Winner – This program incentivizes development of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, in the City of San Diego to increase density in single-family neighborhoods and the supply of deed-restricted units.

“Being recognized by Ivory Innovations for aggressive changes to our local Land Development Code to allow for a large-scale increase in Accessory Dwelling Unit production is an honor for the City of San Diego,” said Development Services Department (DSD) Assistant Director Gary Geiler, leader of the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program. “Coupling density bonuses for affordable units and the ability to more efficiently utilize high-cost land parcels with multiple ADUs by waiving Development Impact Fees together have created a wave of new development that did not previously exist. In addition, the DSD team prioritized ADU reviews, delivering the reviewed permits quickly and ministerially, thus contributing to cost savings by the ADU developer. We hope to see thousands more ADUs in the near future.”


  1. FirstRepair | Evanston, Ill. | Policy & Regulatory Reform Co-Winner – This non-profit localizes housing-related redress as a first step to repair the legacy of slavery in the United States, and hopes to bring its model to other regions.

"When I began our reparations work in Evanston and later founded FirstRepair, I didn’t think that our work might be eligible for a housing award," said Executive Director Robin Rue Simmons, a former elected Evanston alderman. “Our work began from listening to the community, and one of the most important topics for Evanston community members was housing. FirstRepair’s goal is to support reparations programs that best fit the needs of the local communities we work with. And, like Evanston, many communities around the country face serious housing challenges. Being selected as an Ivory Prize winner not only validates our work as a solution for racial equity but also as a solution at the forefront of housing innovation."

These visionary winners embody the spirit of innovation and demonstrate the power of transformative ideas in solving the housing affordability crisis. From launching innovative policies to leading the charge for nationwide reparations, each organization's unique approach showcases the potential to revolutionize the housing industry. Housing affordability impacts millions of Americans, and Ivory Innovations is hopeful that with organizations like these, the industry is taking steps toward making housing better for all.