April 17, 2023
Today, Ivory Innovations announced 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 PCBC in Anaheim, California. $300,000 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.
Here are this year’s finalists (listed by category and alphabetical order):
Construction and Design
This year’s finalists in Construction and Design 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 home faster, using 3D printing and advanced industrial-scale robotics – AKA – building 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.
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.
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 $100K in net worth for 500-600 Black families, leading to $50-$75M 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-$30k, creating opportunities for low-wealth and BIPOC families that 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 11x 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 our 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, & 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 our 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.