Newswise — Ivory Innovations announced today the Top 10 finalists for the 2023 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. The prize awards organizations that demonstrate ambitious, feasible and scalable solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

“The Top 10 finalists for this year’s Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability represent the great breadth of innovation taking place in the housing industry,” said Jenna Louie, director of strategy and operations. “These organizations highlight novel approaches to addressing the housing crisis and we are thrilled to shine a light on their work to improve how we build, where we build, who can afford and who is welcomed into housing across the country.”

The 2023 Ivory Prize winners will be announced on May 24, 2023, at Pacific Coast Builders Conference in Anaheim, California. There will be $300,000 in prize money distributed between at least three winners selected across the three award categories: Construction and Design, Public Policy and Regulatory Reform, and Finance.

Here are this year’s finalists (listed by category and in alphabetical order):

Construction and Design

This year’s finalists in the Construction and Design category feature solutions that are using advanced robotics and partnering with large homebuilders to produce affordable entry-level homes; pairing vertically integrated modular homebuilding with dedicated buyer pipelines, financial education and homeowner support; and developing a new way of sourcing, manufacturing and producing structural building panels that can be easily implemented into current building methods.

  • Advancing industrial-scale robotics with Diamond Age | Phoenix, Arizona

Diamond Age’s mission is to get first-time homebuyers into their first homes faster, using 3D-printing and advanced industrial-scale robotics to build robots bigger than houses to build houses. Diamond Age is automating new home construction for the production housing industry — solving the massive labor shortage plaguing the home construction industry and bringing more entry-level housing to market to balance demand. Diamond Age is currently building entry-level homes for the 9th largest homebuilder in the U.S.

  • Reinvesting in communities with Inherent L3C | Chicago, Illinois

Inherent L3C believes in the power of community reinvestment through the creation of trade careers, homeownership and community-based businesses. From their community housing production facility delivering all-electric, solar-ready smart homes, to their work with public, private and nonprofit organizations to prepare households for homeownership, and their suite of support services for a household’s first five years, Inherent L3C believes that by coming together, “we can bring the best of us to the most of us”. 

  • Building sustainably with Plantd | Durham, North Carolina

Plantd makes durable carbon-negative building materials for homebuilders using fast-growing perennial grass instead of trees. To fulfill their mission to rapidly remove atmospheric carbon dioxide in the field and lock it away within the structures of new homes, they are establishing a new agricultural supply chain and building novel manufacturing technology that lowers costs, reduces carbon emissions and produces superior-performing materials.
 

Finance

This year’s finalists in the Finance category leverage philanthropic capital to create a scalable and sustainable down payment solution for Black families; develop new housing in-fill housing units using co-op financing that take advantage of upzoning efforts while avoiding displacement; and create a new way to finance home renovations, such as adding Accessory Dwelling Units, through future value loans that provide homeowners with greater borrowing power.

  • Building generational wealth with Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth | Denver, Colorado

Launched by Gary Community Ventures, in partnership with Denver’s Black community, The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth provides up to $40,000 in down-payment assistance to first-time Black and African American homebuyers to help build generational wealth. The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth aims to close the racial wealth gap and accelerate Black homeownership by generating an average of $100,000 in net worth for 500-600 Black families, leading to $50-$75 million in wealth creation for the Black community in Denver, CO. The fund seeks to build a community of practice and replication model to assist other cities in deploying this innovative fund model in their markets.

  • Creating multi-family housing co-ops with Frolic Community | Seattle, Washington

Frolic is paving the way for thousands of new, multi-family housing cooperatives to be built on lots with single-family homes in cities across the U.S. Their homes require down payments of $10,000-$30,000, creating opportunities for low-wealth and BIPOC families who have generationally rented to enter into homeownership.

  • Increasing renovation borrowing power RenoFi | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

RenoFi.com is the first one-stop-shop marketplace for financing a home renovation. Homeowners see on average an 11-times increase in borrowing power with RenoFi-powered loans.

 

Public Policy and Regulatory Reform

This year’s finalists in the Public Policy and Regulatory Reform category are prioritizing ease, equitability and agency in connecting individuals, case managers, nonprofits and state agencies to affordable housing units; creating an easy way to access and compare zoning data across the nation; streamlining the permitting process to reduce time and financial costs of building new units; and putting disability-forward housing design standards into practice to highlight best practices in inclusive housing development. 

  • Digitizing the search process for affordable units with Housing Navigator Massachusetts | Cambridge, Massachusetts

Housing Navigator Massachusetts connects people to places to call home, adding transparency and equity to the too-often burdensome process of finding an affordable home. They deliver user-centered technology and advocate for systems change working in partnership with the public sector, owners, renters and human service providers throughout the state. Their first product — a free, 24/7 housing search tool — offers clear, reliable information for one of the most important decisions we all make: where to call home.

  • Democratizing zoning laws with the National Zoning Atlas | Ithaca, New York

The National Zoning Atlas is a collaborative of researchers digitizing, demystifying and democratizing about 30,000 U.S. zoning codes through a first-of-its-kind user-friendly online resource. The Atlas will illuminate zoning laws and unlock research that will reveal how zoning impacts housing availability and affordability, transportation systems, the environment, economic opportunity, educational opportunity and the food supply. 

  • Streamlining permitting processes with PermitFlow | San Jose, California

PermitFlow is the “TurboTax for construction permitting,” providing automation and workflow software that simplifies and accelerates the permitting process. PermitFlow’s technology reduces risk and cost associated with construction, creating new paths to build housing affordably.

  • Advancing disability-forward housing solutions with The Kelsey | San Francisco, California

The Kelsey advances disability-forward housing solutions that open doors to homes and opportunities for everyone. Co-led by people with and without disabilities, The Kelsey co-develops affordable, accessible, inclusive housing and leads advocacy and field-building efforts to create market conditions so inclusive housing becomes the norm.

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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 housing innovation and internships that place students at the core of the Ivory Prize search. For more information about the Ivory Prize and Ivory Innovations, visit www.ivoryinnovations.org.


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