September 22, 2020

Meet the winners of our Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge

Six housing innovators received $2.5 million awards to create housing affordability solutions across the U.S.

Six organizations have won the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, a nationwide competition from Enterprise Community Partners and Wells Fargo to find the most innovative and scalable solutions to increase housing affordability across the U.S. Nearly 900 innovators submitted ideas this year in the areas of finance, construction, and resident support services. The six winning organizations will each receive $2 million grants and two years of technical assistance valued at $500,000 from Enterprise Community Partners to realize their innovative concepts.

Preservation of Affordable Housing

Preservation of Affordable Housing’s innovation, Designing Trauma-Resilient Communities, dismantles the traditional mindset of affordable housing management from a system based on compliance to one informed and enhanced by the model of trauma-informed care. Acknowledging the trauma experienced by residents of affordable housing due to historic and structural racism, isolation, and the chronic, daily stressors of poverty, the innovation will design physical spaces and a network of support that allows residents to heal and fulfill their goals, while creating a more equitable system that reduces evictions and improves resident and staff retention.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic and issues of racial justice have come to the forefront. And our breakthrough idea fits right into that.” — Aaron Gornstein, president and CEO, Preservation of Affordable Housing
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Center for NYC Neighborhoods

The Center for NYC Neighborhoods has a mission to promote and protect affordable homeownership in New York so that middle- and working-class families can build strong, thriving communities. Their innovation, Underwriting for Good, is a nationally scalable solution to dramatically increase the amount of credit flowing to low- and moderate-income families of color on equitable terms so they can build wealth.

“With this award, we’re going to be able to give families the opportunities that they deserved all along and weren’t getting.” — Joseph Sant, deputy general counsel, Center for NYC Neighborhoods
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Forterra NW

Forterra NW’s project, Prototyping Modular Cross-Laminated Timber to Disrupt the Affordable Housing Supply Chain, brings together Native American tribes, people of color, land trusts, impact investors, and timber technicians to re-engineer the affordable housing supply chain by replacing traditional construction methods using stick frames, metal, and concrete with responsibly sourced, cross-laminated timber.

“Tribes don’t have an affordable way to build new villages that are going to last for generations to come. And what modular CLT can do is provide that quickly and affordably.” — Tobias Levey, vice president, Real Estate Transactions, Forterra NW
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Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

Gulf Coast Housing Partnership’s Health + Housing seeks to create groundbreaking value propositions for residents as well as health care payers by demonstrating the benefits of investing in affordable housing at scale to health care payers. The model aims to promote agency and equity among residents by anchoring communities with access to healthy, affordable homes linked with culturally competent preventative health care services.

“The validation of the proposition in a region that is so lacking of resources and in so much need, that's what's thrilling about this.” — Kathy Laborde, president, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership
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Impact Justice

The Homecoming Project from Impact Justice revolutionizes efforts to decrease recidivism by pairing individuals returning from prison with people who have a room available in their home to live as part of a family and neighborhood, while receiving individualized support and services to help regain their dignity and rebuild their new lives. Inspired by Airbnb and the sharing economy, the program aims to reduce homelessness among formerly incarcerated people, increase the quality and availability of affordable housing, and strengthen the financial stability of homeowners at risk of being forced out of their neighborhoods by gentrification and other economic forces.

“This is a project that we think can actually help with some of the racial repair that needs to go on in our society.” — Alex Busansky, president, Impact Justice
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cdcb | come dream. come build.

cdcb | come dream. come build. is re-imagining affordable housing delivery through MiCASiTA, an environmentally sustainable, disaster-resilient modular homeownership program for rural families that marks a departure from a one-size-fits-all model to a system that empowers people of color with modest incomes to choose and design their own homes to advance wealth-building, protect the environment, and strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods.

“I believe housing is a human right and the opportunity here to bring change to that space … it's immensely exciting and so needed.” — Benje Feehan, executive director, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP
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