Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge

Your opportunity to spark innovation – and turn new concepts into reality.

Deadline: February 19, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET

Woman in orange shirt looking confidently over left shoulder

Calling All Creative Innovators

The challenge invites proposals detailing scalable solutions that address one of three focus areas.
Housing Construction
Housing Finance
Housing Finance
Resident Services & Support
Resident Services & Support

Challenge Timeline

The challenge features three rounds, culminating with the announcement of the final six winners by July 31, 2020.

Round 1

January 15 - February 19, 2020

Round 1 applications are due February 19, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET. By March 17, approximately 40 applicants will be invited to join Round 2.

2 women

Round 2

March 18 - April 14, 2020

Round 2 applications will be available March 18 and due April 14, 2020. Fifteen applicants will be invited to Round 3.

coworking space

Round 3

May 26 - July 31, 2020

Round 3 will feature a pitch event and conclude with the announcement of the six winners by July 31, 2020.


Frequently Asked Questions

How is “affordable housing” defined in the challenge?
Kebero Court

We understand that affordability varies based on multiple factors, including geography and market conditions. We’re looking for innovations that address the needs of low- to moderate-income households, and will prioritize proposals serving 60 percent of area median income (AMI) and below. At the same time, we will exercise flexibility up to 80% AMI based on the nature of the idea (e.g., rental vs. homeownership) and market context. We also will consider mixed-income strategies in which its estimated that the innovation will serve a majority of households at or below 60 percent AMI.

Can organizations submit more than one application?
Picture of roof top and the ocean view in Puerto Rico

Organizations can submit more than one application. However, only one application per idea will be allowed. In other words, organizations can submit multiple unique ideas to the same focus area. Organizations may also submit multiple unique ideas across different focus areas. However, we will not accept applications from different organizations for the same idea. Organizations must coordinate with their partners to determine one lead applicant. Finally, although organizations are permitted to submit more than one application, we strongly encourage you to prioritize your best ideas and submit one application.

My innovation overlaps with two different focus areas. Can I apply for more than one focus area?
A little boy holding a marker.

No. You must select one primary focus area that best aligns with your innovation. The application does allow you to specify if your innovation overlaps with another focus area. However, there is no advantage or preference given to innovations that address more than one focus area.

What are the eligible expenses covered by this grant?

The grant funding is flexible and can be used for operational, programmatic and capital expenses.

Will you consider innovations related to homeownership?
Couple with home

Yes. Innovations can be related to both rental housing or homeownership.

Is this a national competition, or are there geographic focus areas?
An aerial picture of a garden

The challenge is a national competition. Our goal is that the final six grantees will represent a geographically diverse cohort of innovations. Although we are not seeking to provide grants in specific locations, ideas designed to serve rural and/or tribal communities will receive a modest boost in our scoring criteria. Learn more about the challenge’s scoring criteria.

Tell us about your great idea to make housing affordable.
New affordable home next to one under construction in New Orleans, LA"