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Recognizing Inspiring Innovations in Affordable Housing

May 21, 2021 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Affordable Housing, Construction

As home prices and rents continue to escalate, innovations that drive down the cost of housing are more important than ever. Since 2019, Ivory Innovations -- a Utah-based organization that brings together stakeholders to advance solutions to the national housing affordability crisis -- has recognized housing innovation through its Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability awards.

This past year, the organization received 160 nominations from 39 states that feature "ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to housing affordability" in three categories: finance, construction and design, and public policy and regulatory reform. They also focused on solutions that sought to address historic inequalities related to race and housing.

Ivory Innovations announced the Top 25 finalists for the Ivory Prize earlier this year. To recognize these inspiring organizations, we’ve highlighted five of the finalists below, including the three from Texas.

  • Community First! Village (Austin, TX)  --  Developed and operated by Mobile Loaves & Fishes, this community serves as a model for providing affordable, permanent housing complemented by a supportive community for individuals exiting homelessness. Mobile Loaves & Fishes just announced a 1,400 home expansion that will bring the total number of homes at the community to 1,900 by 2027.  
  • ICON (Austin, TX)  --  A trailblazer in housing construction, ICON uses 3D printing robotics, software and materials to build homes like the one pictured right. Launched in 2018, the company has printed homes in the U.S. and Mexico with plans for scaling up operations thanks to investors.  
  • Affordability Unlocked (Austin, TX)  --  This City of Austin development bonus program waives or modifies certain site development restrictions in exchange for a developer providing low and/or moderate-income housing. While the program can be used by almost anyone, it's intended to entice market rate developers to incorporate income-restricted housing into their developments.
  • Acts Housing (Milwaukee, WI)  --  Acts Housing provides financial counseling, real estate brokerage knowledge, rehab expertise, and loans to purchase and renovate distressed homes to households that have been locked out of the traditional mortgage process. This approach has the two-fold impact of revitalizing communities and creating homeownership opportunities that are otherwise unattainable.
  • Accelerating ADUs (Pasadena, CA)  --  The City of Pasadena offers comprehensive assistance to homeowners for financing, designing, permitting and building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on their property. ADUs can provide an affordable rental option in desirable neighborhoods and rental income for homeowners to help pay a mortgage.

We invite you to check out the complete list of the Top 25 finalists here. To learn more about Ivory Innovations and their work, click here.


On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

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