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, created to identify and accelerate innovations with the potential to transform how affordable homes are built, financed and provide a gateway to stability and success.

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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. It is part of Wells Fargo’s $1 billion commitment in support of housing affordability solutions by 2025.

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

On September 22, 2020, the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge announced that it has awarded six organizations grants of $2 million each, plus $500,000 in technical assistance to turn their ideas into reality. Over the next two years, the six winning organizations and their partners will build out their ideas and take them to scale in their respective geographies while seeking to demonstrate the potential for national implementation.

Meet the Grant Winners

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A Pivotal Moment

The relentless events of 2020 have underscored that access to a stable, healthy affordable home is a pillar of America’s strength and prosperity.

For many, home has become our office, our classroom and our refuge. Yet millions of Americans and communities struggled due to housing insecurity long before the current wave of natural disasters and a global pandemic that puts millions of Americans at risk of eviction and financial devastation.

The social unrest that continues in communities nationwide is a cry against the racial inequity and institutional racism that have sparked an overdue reckoning across the affordable housing and community development industry. Against the backdrop of this unprecedented moment, the six winners of the Breakthrough Challenge will work with their partners and engage their communities as they bring their ideas to life. Important discoveries and learnings lie ahead – along with exciting milestones and triumphs.

“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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