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The need for affordable housing nationwide continues to exceed the supply. That expanding gap is the impetus and inspiration driving the $20 million Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, led by Enterprise with the generous support of the Wells Fargo Foundation.

The 2023 Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge is a three-round competition to identify and amplify innovative, implementation-ready housing affordability solutions. The competition builds off the success of the inaugural 2020 challenge, whose cohort of winners are scaling the reach and impact of their successfully executed innovations to communities nationwide.

The second cycle of the challenge launched in January, inviting a range of Native, Tribal, rural, suburban, and urban entities to compete for grants of up to $3 million along with technical assistance.


Three Focus Areas

We invited housing innovators to submit new, transformative ideas that fall within three focus areas: Construction, Financing, and Access and Resident Support.

A room being built inside a warehouse and lifted by a specialized lifting equipment

Construction:  affordability through creativity, efficiency and resiliency

Construction innovations must introduce transformative practices, processes or new materials that will create construction efficiency, streamline supply chains, bolster climate resiliency, or reduce building costs


A woman at a bank sitting at a desk helping a customer on the other side

Financing: expanding access, increasing resources, and minimizing risk

Financing innovations must introduce new tools or strategies to transform or offer alternatives to current practices, broadening access to capital, unlocking or leveraging financial resources, and creating a more equitable housing market for renters and homebuyers


A woman working with and guiding a man with blindness or low vision using a white cane

Access and Resident Support: expanding choice, improving service delivery and addressing housing injustices

Access and Resident Support innovations must introduce new processes or models that improve the housing experience for residents, such as housing access, choice, and stability, advancing fair housing, promoting personal agency and creating pathways for upward mobility

Round 3

Round 3

Round 3 of the 2023 Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge will feature a live pitch event this fall.

Finalists will make a short presentation on their breakthrough idea to a panel of national affordable housing experts. The final winners of the challenge will be announced in mid-November.

Stay connected for more news about the challenge and this pivotal segment of the competition.

Round 2

Round 2

Forty-two semi-finalists – selected from 430 proposals – competed in Round 2 of the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge.

Round 2 Review Process

Round 2 semi-finalists submitted a second application offering them the opportunity to share a more in-depth overview of their implementation-ready innovation and how it will create a scalable housing affordability solution.

A diverse group of leaders from Wells Fargo with field expertise covering the challenge’s three focus areas (construction, financing, and access and resident support) as well as knowledge of the eligible geographic markets reviewed and scored the Round 2 applications.

The application included questions related to the implementation and impact of the innovation and the program or project budget. Applicants also took part in a brief, informal video interview, explaining why their innovation is unique and who it’s designed to serve.

Following a detailed review and analysis of Round 2 semi-finalists, 16 organizations were selected to move on to the third and final round of the challenge.

Round 1

Round 1

Round 1 of the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge closed in March. Congratulations to every applicant who rose to the challenge – and to our 42 semi-finalists selected to advance to Round 2. 

A team of 55 housing and community development experts from across Enterprise’s Solutions, Capital, and Community Development divisions reviewed the 430 Round 1 applications received.  

In Round 1, we asked innovators to demonstrate how their innovation would be executed in at least one of the 38 markets listed below, where Wells Fargo and Enterprise can provide additional resources and support toward implementing and scaling the winning innovations.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Proposals also had to show how their innovation would serve a majority (+51%) of renters earning 80% AMI or below, and homeowners at 120% AMI or below.

A group of people walking down the sidewalk laughing
We’re not coming in to save the community. The community is strong. And all this deep knowledge lives in their hands, minds and hearts.
Jeffrey Dade, Former Community Development Director, Forterra, 2020 Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge Winner