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Construction workers at a manufacturing site known as “the farm” in Brownsville, Texas, assemble the modular housing innovation MiCASiTA, developed by Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge winner cdcb | come dream. come build. in partnership with buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. The sustainable rural homeownership innovation allows families to “grow” the size of their home as their finances and dreams evolve. CREDIT: Brenda Bazán/Enterprise Community Partners

– A BETTER WAY HOME: The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge opens to the public October 21 

The National Building Museum announced today that it will open a major new exhibition, A BETTER WAY HOME: The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge on Friday, October 21. The exhibition is part of Equity in the Built Environment, one of the Museum’s signature series which includes public programs and workshops, focused on actions to promote justice in the built environment.

A BETTER WAY HOME tells the dynamic story of the six winning teams from the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, a three-year, $20 million initiative launched in January 2020 by Wells Fargo Foundation and national nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners. The Challenge aims to close the economic gap in the available housing market by elevating and transforming housing affordability innovations into real solutions.

“The need for more affordable, accessible, and well-designed homes has never been greater, and that means we need to invest in bold ideas that challenge the status quo,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of Housing Affordability Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “These six ventures are reshaping how we build, finance and support residents to ensure everyone has access to an affordable home where they can thrive.”

The exhibition features the six housing innovators awarded $2.5 million each to execute their solutions in three areas: housing construction, housing finance, and resident services and support. Designed by MASS Design Group – the firm recognized in the National Building Museum’s Justice is Beauty and Gun Violence Memorial exhibitions, the 1,500 square-foot exhibition tells the stories of these breakthrough ideas, the organizations leading them, and the people and communities they impact through building models and multimedia materials, including photography, illustrations and videography.

The six winners of the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge prevailed in a national grant competition that drew nearly 900 proposals from organizations in 49 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Each winner received $2.5 million to develop and scale their housing solution. CREDIT: Brenda Bazán/Enterprise Community Partners

“The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge shows what is possible when dedicated community leaders with vision and experience have the resources and peer support to pursue and scale their ideas,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, president, Solutions Division, Enterprise Community Partners. “It is a privilege to lead the Challenge and support our six winning teams as they work coast to coast to create transformative change and equity through housing solutions. We are grateful to Wells Fargo for their generous support of the challenge and honored to have this powerful story featured at the National Building Museum in collaboration with MASS Design Group.”

“This exhibition provides an opportunity to share this innovative and impactful work with our visitors,” said Aileen Fuchs, the Museum’s President and Executive Director. “Equity is one of our guiding Pillars of Impact and we are committed to amplifying work designed to illustrate the relationship between equity, social justice and the built environment and how design and construction can create opportunity and empower communities.”

Exhibition visitors will view the six Breakthrough Challenge winners and their solutions, which range from sustainable rural homeownership to a home-sharing program for people released from prison and equitable underwriting technology.

H3C in New Orleans is the second of two Health + Housing pilot sites, made possible in part by financing from Aetna, a CVS Health company. Breaking ground in March 2022, H3C will feature a clinic along with commercial space on the ground level and affordable rental homes on the upper floors. CREDIT: Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

Resident Services and Support

The Homecoming Project introduces a unique model of community re-entry that pairs people returning from prison with homeowners who have an available room and a desire to help someone make a fresh start in life. Impact Justice, a national innovation and research center advancing new ideas and solutions for justice reform, launched and leads the innovative program.

Designing Trauma-Resilient Communities reimagines affordable housing design and services through the lens of trauma-informed caring and its core principles: safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment. The innovator, Preservation of Affordable Housing, is a nonprofit developer, owner and operator of affordable homes in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

Housing Finance

Underwriting for Good leverages new technology and alternative credit data to increase access to homeownership and wealth building for Black and Brown families. Center for NYC Neighborhoods, which promotes and protects affordable homeownership through a focus on racial equity and climate change, introduced and developed the financing innovation.

Health + Housing creates new financing options for health insurers to invest in affordable homes, while ensuring residents access to on-site community health care. The innovation was created by Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, a nonprofit developer delivering affordable homes across the region.

Housing Construction

MiCASiTA puts sustainable rural homeownership in reach for families in the Rio Grande Valley and other regions where poverty persists through a streamlined delivery system offering modular homes that “grow” as people’s needs and dreams evolve. cdcb | come dream. come build., a Brownsville, Texas-based housing development organization, built the innovation in partnership with buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, a community design center.

Forest to Home transforms the home delivery supply chain by merging forest stewardship and high-tech manufacturing to create affordable modular homes built with cross-laminated timber. The innovation’s creator, Forterra, is an unconventional land trust working across Washington State’s communities and landscapes.


Thursday – Monday, 11 am – 4 pm. The exhibition is located on the main floor.