Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge

Six housing innovators receive $2.5 million awards to execute next-generation solutions.

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Meet the Grant Winners

A nationwide competition for the top housing innovations unveiled six winning ideas, from driving rural homeownership to radically capturing carbon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge?
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The challenge is an opportunity to identify, accelerate and scale breakthrough ideas that promise new ways to create urgently needed affordable housing nationwide. Administered by Enterprise Community Partners, the challenge is made possible with the generous financial support of Wells Fargo.

Will there be future Breakthrough Challenges?
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No, this is a new, one-time challenge. There are currently no plans to make this an annual challenge or otherwise replicate it in the future. Visit Enterprise and Wells Fargo to learn about future grant opportunities.

How is “affordable housing” defined in the challenge?
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In selecting our finalists, we prioritized proposals serving 60 percent of area median income (AMI) and below. At the same time, we exercised flexibility up to 80% AMI based on the idea (e.g., rental vs. homeownership) and market context. We also considered mixed-income strategies serving a majority of households at or below 60 percent AMI.

What were the eligibility requirements of applicants?
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The challenge features three focus areas: Housing Construction, Housing Finance, and Resident Services and Support. Nonprofits and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (TDHEs) were eligible to submit  in the Housing Finance and Resident Services and Support categories. For-profit entities, nonprofits and TDHEs were eligible in the Housing Construction category.

What was the application process?
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The competitive application process launched with a first-round Request for Proposals (RFP) in January 2020. Forty-five applicants were invited to join the second-round RFP, with 15 chosen to move on to the third and final round, which featured a pitch event where a panel of judges determined the six final winners.

How were the finalists selected?
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Through a consensus-driven process, 30 Enterprise leaders with deep field expertise chose 45 Round 1 finalists from nearly 900 applications. A diverse group of Wells Fargo employees formed the Round 2 selection committee, naming 15 Round 3 finalists, who pitched their idea to a panel of judges tasked with choosing the six winning proposals.

Selection Process

See the journey from 900 proposals to six winning innovations

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Stay connected to follow the progress of our six housing innovators
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