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In the midst of an intense real estate market with declining housing affordability, Ivory Innovations—an applied academic institution and foundation dedicated to catalyzing innovative solutions in affordability—announced the 2021 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability winners.

The four honorees include BamCore and Curtis + Ginsberg Architects in the construction and design category, Keep by Framework in finance, and Impact Justice’s Homecoming Project in public policy and regulatory reform.

“When we started the Ivory Prize three years ago, we already had a housing affordability crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified that crisis,” says Clark Ivory, founder of the Ivory Prize and CEO of Ivory Homes. “We are thrilled to recognize four amazing innovators that are providing unique and impactful contributions to solving our nation’s affordability challenges.”

Selected from a list of top 10 finalists and originally from 160 nominations across 37 states, the Ivory Prize finalists and winners are determined by Ivory Innovations’ Advisory Board with support from Ivory Innovations' fellows and associates.

Through the foundation, more than $200,000 will be distributed between the winners selected from each of the award components. In addition to financial support, the Ivory Innovations network includes interns, capital partners, and strategic planning. Additionally, a finalist from the Ivory Prize also will go through the Housing Lab accelerator at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley.

“These ideas and knowledge gained from the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability have proven that important and creative ideas can originate at the local and state levels and within the private sector,” says Natalie Gochnour, associate dean at the University of Utah and emcee for the virtual 2021 Ivory Prize announcement. “It’s really the combination of these that will get after this very challenging problem.”

The 2021 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability honorees include:

  • Sustainable Bamboo with BamCore, Windsor, California: BamCore is a studless framing solution using timber bamboo to deliver customized, code-compliant wall systems that are redefining the low-rise built environment. With recent spikes in lumber prices, BamCore’s bamboo-based framing has the potential to address the crippling rise in material costs, provide a more climate positive supply chain, reduce the need for skilled labor, and speed up build times by more than 50%.
  • Healthier Buildings with Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, New York City: Often, sustainability and affordability are competitive goals for housing development. Curtis + Ginsberg Architects is breaking through those barriers. The firm designed Omni New York’s Park Avenue Green, the largest passive house affordable housing development in the United States. Their strategy is to reduce the operational cost of buildings, in turn maintaining affordability after a building is built and providing healthier buildings for residents.
  • Preparing for Homeownership with Keep by Framework, Boston: Framework Homeownership's Keep by Framework helps home buyers understand the home buying process and how best to maintain and stay in that home for the long term. With an emphasis on first-time, first-generation potential homeowners, Keep guides users through the entire process of purchasing a home, with a focus on how to assist buyers confronting structural and persistent racial barriers. By widening access and closing knowledge gaps, Keep creates more confident buyers, successful owners, and stronger communities.
  • Housing After Incarceration with Impact Justice’s Homecoming Project, Oakland, California: Thousands of formerly incarcerated people are not only priced out of affordable housing but are sometimes intentionally left out of many housing options. The Homecoming Project is a program that ensures successful reentry back into communities by providing safe housing and a welcoming host. Formerly incarcerated people are able to integrate more easily into the community by quick placement into stable housing right out of prison.