Ivory Innovations launched the 2020 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability at the University of Utah’s Davis Eccles School of Business. Now in its second year, the Ivory Prize awards a total of $200,000 to winners that have developed ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to housing affordability within three focus areas: construction and design; finance; and public policy and regulatory reform. 

In 2019, 126 nominations and applications representing organizations in 28 states were judged by an advisory board representing some of the top minds in housing from across the U.S. Ivory Innovations is an outgrowth of Ivory’s commitment to community and making a significant impact on housing affordability, both in Utah and across the United States.

“Housing availability and affordability will be one of the defining issues of our time,” said Clark Ivory, CEO of the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation and Ivory Homes, which has been Utah’s largest homebuilder for more than 30 years. “The Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability rewards those who are thinking outside of the box about how to make housing more affordable and abundant. From innovative financing models, groundbreaking construction technology, and visionary policy and regulatory reform, our 2019 inaugural class showcased what’s possible in housing. I can’t wait to see how our 2020 winners will take solving the housing affordability puzzle to the next level.”

Joining Clark Ivory for the kickoff event was Taylor Randall, Dean of the Davis Eccles School, where Ivory Innovations is housed. Utah State Senator Jake Anderegg, who chairs Utah’s Commission on Housing Affordability, Director of Ivory Innovations Abby Ivory, and Courtney McBeth, Senior Advisor to University of Utah President Ruth Watkins, also made remarks. 

Applications for the Ivory Prize open today and will be accepted until December 15. Finalists and winners will be announced in early 2020. 

The Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability’s ultimate goal is to shed light on the most innovative solutions to our nation’s housing affordability crisis. This includes highlighting the lessons learned and prize winners at various national venues, including in November of 2019, finalists for the inaugural Ivory Prize will share their work and lessons learned at an event Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. 

Additionally, earlier this year, the Ivory Prize was featured by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the inaugural Innovative Housing Showcase, Co-hosted by NAHB and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

“Housing affordability is a key component of family affordability and the American market is in desperate need of housing innovations in the marketplace and every level of policy to relieve this mounting pressure," said Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). "The Ivory Prize is an example of Utah’s private sector encouraging activities with public benefit, and I look forward to learning about the innovative efforts they uncover this year.”

2019 winners included:

Factory_OS (Construction and Design): Factory_OS, which is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, is transforming the construction industry by vertically integrating 21st century off-site building technologies, software operating systems, lean manufacturing, and workforce development. They are striving to deliver multifamily housing more than 40% faster and at 20% lower cost.

The Alley Flat Initiative (Policy and Regulatory Reform): The Alley Flat Initiative was recognized based on their innovative efforts to change the policy framework in Austin, Texas to allow for the adoption of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – often using underutilized alleys to create additional dwelling units by tucking small, single-family homes on existing lots. In addition, the Alley Flat Initiative has developed a “one-stop shop” for income-qualified homeowners providing personalized support through the development process including green design, financial education and pre-qualification, property management and construction guidance. It has also partnered with the City of Austin to develop programs to promote income-restricted ADUs for lower-income owner-developers who are at risk of displacement.

Landed (Finance Co-Winner): San Francisco-based Landed is on a mission to help essential professionals (starting with educators) build financial security near the communities they serve. They invest alongside teachers and school staff when they are ready to buy a home in expensive cities. The Landed “shared appreciation” model has broad applicability and could make a significant impact. To date, Landed has helped nearly 150 public school teachers and employees purchase homes valued at $100 million. Landed in helping teachers help put deep roots in their communities.

Home Partners of America (Finance Co-Winner): Chicago-based Home Partners of America (HPA) launched in January 2013 in response to the impact the Great Recession and foreclosure crisis had on millions of homeowners, Home Partners of America has built an innovative financing and operating platform that has enabled thousands of households who currently are not mortgage-qualified to gain access to quality for-sale listed homes in local neighborhoods by participating in their lease-purchase program. Since its launch, HPA has purchased over 12,000 homes in 40 metropolitan markets and 20 states nationwide for a total investment of over $3.5 billion. HPA is now piloting a program to target low-to-moderate income households. This program known as Choice Lease supports residents whose household income is at or below 100% area median income (AMI), with an expected average of 80% AMI. Funding for this program is provided through socially motivated capital.

“Broad housing affordability will not happen if it's only one person asking for a small fix. It must come from 21st-Century solutions that benefit entire communities,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability Advisory Board member. ”The Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability is a cutting-edge approach to finding innovative, scalable solutions to addressing the pressing challenge of housing affordability.”

The finalists and winners for the Ivory Prized are determined by Ivory Innovations’ Advisory Board. These include Clark Ivory; Kent Colton, Colton Housing Group; Carol Galante of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley; Chris Herbert at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies; the Urban Institute’s Laurie Goodman; Natalie Gochnour from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute; John McManus, VP-Editorial Director for Residential at Hanley Wood; and Ryan Smith, Director and Professor of the Washington State University School of Design and Construction.

For more information about the Ivory Prize and Ivory Innovations, check out this video or visit www.ivory-innovations.org.