About the Challenge

Identifying, accelerating and scaling the next generation of housing affordability solutions.

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The need for affordable housing nationwide continues to exceed the supply. That demand reflects the impetus and inspiration behind the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge.

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Administered by Enterprise and made possible by the generous support of Wells Fargo, the challenge seeks to close the affordable housing gap by elevating and transforming housing affordability innovations into real solutions. 

Keep up with all the latest news on our Breakthrough Challenge innovators!

The primary goals of the challenge are to:

  • Identify, accelerate and scale promising ideas, models and approaches
  • Provide peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities
  • Share ideas and models that engage a wider audience in the search for innovations

“The challenge is about seeding and supporting new ideas that can then be scaled to change how the industry operates today.”
― Priscilla Almodovar, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Community Partners

Grant Winners

The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge is a three-year $20 million initiative. It launched in January 2020 with the goal to identify and scale six leading-edge innovations.

Enterprise and Wells Fargo announced the six winners in September 2020. Two winners were selected from each of the Breakthrough Challenge's three focus areas: Construction, Financing, and Resident Services and Support. Each winner received a $2.5 million award – a $2 million grant and $500,000 in technical assistance support.

The winners represent an array of breakthrough ideas and approaches stretching from the forests of Washington state to the five boroughs of New York City. Their range and reach are vast. Rural homeownership. Carbon capture. Fair underwriting. Community health care. Justice housing. Trauma-informed care. Together, these six innovations promise to increase the supply of affordable homes, promote racial equity and build a more sustainable and equitable housing system.

At this writing, all six grantees are making exciting progress. Some are closing pivotal transactions. Others are completing critical protocols. Still more are breaking ground and linking people to stable, affordable homes.

Enterprise organizes and hosts regular convenings with the six winners. These peer-to-peer opportunities provide a valuable cohort experience. They also promote the cross-pollination of ideas and approaches.

Meet the Grant Winners

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“Enterprise is incredibly grateful for the generous financial resources and tremendous expertise brought by the Wells Fargo team throughout the competition.”
― Priscilla Almodovar, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Community Partners

Challenge Details

The Selection Process

Because housing affordability looks different in rural areas, tribal communities, cities and suburbs, the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge is national in scope. Innovators in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were invited to participate in the competitive application process launched in mid-January.

Learn More About the Selection Process

Three Programmatic Pillars

The challenge focuses on three pillars that are paramount to housing affordability:

  1. Housing Construction
  2. Housing Finance
  3. Resident Services and Support

Learn More about the Programmatic Pillars

Watch: Why Innovation Matters

We're helping turn breakthrough ideas into real action.

So Many Great Ideas

Drawing nearly 900 applications, we cast a wide net in search of today’s great solutions – and those of the future.

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It’s About Solutions

Enterprise’s Christi Smith explains the importance of the challenge’s consensus-driven review process.

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A Focus on Innovation

Innovation matters because housing affordability challenges keep changing, says Enterprise’s Marion McFadden. 

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Lifting Up Great Ideas

What makes the Breakthrough Challenge such a unique opportunity? Enterprise’s Erika Ruiz explains.

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A Tremendous Opportunity

Enterprise’s Meaghan Shannon-Vlkovic on why the time for new housing affordability solutions is now.

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A More Equitable Future

Enterprise’s Alexa Rosenberg on why innovation must incorporate new practices that promote economic mobility.

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Stay connected to follow the progress of our six housing innovators
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