Innovative Solutions Wanted Amidst Rapidly Rising Housing Costs

(Sept. 8, 2021 – SALT LAKE CITY) – Ivory Innovations has opened nominations for the 4th Annual Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability.  As Americans face an ever-growing challenge to have safe and affordable housing options, the Prize seeks to elevate ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to housing affordability. This year, nominees – whether entrepreneurs, startups, public-private partnerships, public entities, or non-profits – are encouraged to demonstrate how their approach can rapidly increase the affordable housing stock as our 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,” said 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.”

Through Ivory Innovations, more than two hundred thousand dollars is awarded each year between winners in three award categories — Construction and Design (including both new construction and rehabilitation), 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 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. Additionally, to participate in the Housing Lab accelerator at the Terner Center at UC Berkeley.

“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. 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,” said Alex Lofton, Landed’s Co-Founder. “In addition to supporting our efforts, the Ivory Innovations network continues to be a resource for us to find unique partnerships, understand other innovative approaches, and address this issue with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs.”

Over the past three years, Prize nominees have been featured at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, UC Berkley’s Terner Center, and the Innovative Housing Showcase, co-hosted by the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Additionally, six pathways to making housing more affordable and available from the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability have also been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Ivory Innovations will also feature previous winners and finalists of the Prize at the I+H+A Summit at the University of Utah in November 2021. This invitation-only event will explore academic and applied solutions to housing affordability.

In addition to expanding the ecosystem of housing innovators, 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 David Eccles School of Business, is now led by renowned housing researcher Professor Andra Ghent, who recently joined the Ivory-Boyer Real Estate Center as Academic Director. 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.

Previous winners of the Ivory Prize include Factory_OS, Enterka, 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. Additionally, the 1000 Friends of Oregon and the Oregon Housing Alliance on behalf of the State of Oregon and the City of Minneapolis for its comprehensive Minneapolis 2040 Plan were recognized with The Public Sector Outstanding Achievement Award in 2020.

Nominations for the prize will remain open until January 14, 2022 and winners will be announced in May of 2022.

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About Ivory Innovations: Ivory Innovations is dedicated to catalyzing innovative solutions in housing affordability. Utilizing its network and resources, Ivory Innovations promotes the most compelling ideas in housing affordability, working across sectors and providing monetary awards with the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. Additionally, in partnership with the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, Ivory Innovations places students at the center of its efforts, through Hack-A-House – an annual entrepreneurial competition – as well as scholarships, a course on Innovations in Housing, and internships that allow students to be at the center of the Ivory Prize search. For more information about the Ivory Prize and Ivory Innovations, visit www.ivory-innovations.org.