The fifth year of the Ivory Innovations competition highlights solutions in the fields of housing, finance and public policy.
This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to finding solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab.
For the fifth year running, Ivory Innovations, a non-profit organization from the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business, is hosting a sustainable housing competition, awarding $300,000 to companies with “ambitious, feasible, and scalable affordable housing solutions.”
There are three main categories: engineering and design, finance and public policy/regulatory reform.
On Monday, Ivory announced 25 finalists for this year’s Ivory Prize, which will ultimately be narrowed down to three winners in the coming months.
Ivory Innovation also created a “Housing Innovation Database” that organizes more than 500 housing solutions from “nonprofit, for-profit and public sector efforts” by state. Utah, for example, has 12 different efforts, including an organization that offers automated legal assistance for renters facing an eviction notice.
“As we work to address the nation’s housing shortage and affordability crisis, innovation is a bright spot,” said Kent Colton, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Ivory Innovations. “The 2023 Ivory Prize Top 25 Finalists underscore the important work that is underway to achieve creative change and solutions across the country. Above all, they will change the lives of the many people who are looking for and need affordable housing.”
This year’s top 25 finalists include the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, which offers down payment assistance to African American and Black first-time homebuyers in Denver, North Carolina Plantd, which makes building materials from perennial grasses instead of trees, and Ithaca, New York – based National Zoning Atlas, which aims to “show how zoning affects housing availability and affordability, transportation systems, the environment, economic opportunity, educational opportunity, and our food supply.”
Last year’s winning examples included BuildUp in the housing reform category. The program teaches youth in Birmingham, Alabama, the basics of real estate and prepares them to manage real estate or buy a home without going into excessive debt.
BuildUp isn’t just about fighting for affordable housing. It is a trade school that teaches the basics of real estate to youngsters in Birmingham, Alabama. By the time they graduate, most children are managing real estate or buying homes without going into excessive debt. “You shouldn’t have to wait until you’re 60 to own a home,” BuildUp CEO Mark Martin told The Tribune last year.
Here’s a full list of Ivory Innovations’ 25 finalists for 2023.
Editor’s Note • The Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation is a donor to the Salt Lake Tribune’s Innovation Lab.
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2023/02/28/big-ideas-affordable-housing-will/ Great affordable housing ideas will compete for $300,000 in the nonprofit’s annual competition