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Below are some commonly asked questions about the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge. Watch the webinar recording of our virtual information session to learn more.

Q: How do you define rural?

The challenge is following HUD’s definition of a rural area: a place having fewer than 2,500 inhabitants; a county or parish with an urban population of 20,000 inhabitants or less; any place with a population not in excess of 20,000 inhabitants and not located in a Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Q: How do we find more information about past winners?

Here are profiles of our 2020 Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge winners. This video also features the story of our first-cycle winners and their innovations. 

Q: If awarded, are there restrictions on how the funding can be spent?

Funds may not be used to support lobbying activities.

Q: What is the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge?

The challenge is a grant competition designed to identify, accelerate, and scale implementation-ready breakthrough ideas that promise new ways to create housing affordability across three focus areas: Construction, Financing, and Access and Resident Support. Administered by Enterprise Community Partners, the challenge is made possible with the generous financial support of the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Q: When will the winners be announced?

Winners of the 2023 Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge will be announced in mid-November.

Q: How is “affordable housing” defined in the challenge?

We will consider proposals whose innovation serves a majority (greater than 51%) of residents at these income levels:

  • Rental: 80% AMI or below
  • Homeownership: 120% AMI or below 
Q: What are the eligibility requirements of applicants?

We invited a range of organizations to apply, including nonprofits, Tribal organizations, and mission-driven for-profit entities. Applicants were asked to show how their ideas would be implemented in at least one of 38 markets where Wells Fargo and Enterprise can provide additional infrastructure to support implementation and help scale the winning innovations. While each innovation may initially be implemented in a specific jurisdiction or geography, the expectation is that the innovation demonstrates broad applicability and has the potential to replicate in other communities across the United States.

Q: What is the application process?

The competitive application process launched on January 31, 2023, with a first-round Request for Proposals (RFP). Round 1 applications were due March 3, 2023. We announced our 42 Round 2 semi-finalists on May 9, 2023, and invited them to complete a second application. A team from Wells Fargo representing multiple lines of business reviewed Round 2 applications and selected our finalists, who were announced on August 16, 2023. Finalists will participate in a pitch event this fall where a panel of judges, judges featuring nationally recognized housing and community development experts, including leaders from Enterprise and Wells Fargo, will determine the winners of the 2023 Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge.

Q: Who is reviewing the applications?

A team comprised of leaders from Enterprise reviewed and scored the 430 Round 1 applications received. Leaders from Wells Fargo will review and score Round 2 applications. Round 3 will feature a pitch competition judged by a panel of national housing and community development experts, including Enterprise and Wells Fargo leaders.

Q: What will the grant period be?

The grant period will be for three years, from November 2023 through October 2026.

Q: How will funds be disbursed to the winners?

Up to 50% of the grant will be disbursed after the grant agreement is executed in 2023. The remaining funds will be disbursed halfway through the grant period in 2025.

Q: How many winners will be selected? And how many winners will there be in each area?

The challenge will award at least one breakthrough idea in each of the three focus areas. There are no defined number of awards.