Community Action of Allegan County Earns National Recognition for its Work in Hosing

Community Action of Allegan County named as a Top 25 Finalist for the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability

Allegan, MI — Community Action of Allegan County’s Dual Community Development Program (DCDP) was recently named as a Top 25 finalist for the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. The Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability, sponsored by Ivory Innovations, began in 2019 as a way to recognize businesses, foundations, non-profits, community leaders, and others that are working to lower the cost of housing. The Ivory Prize recognizes awardees in three categories: construction and design, finance, and public policy and regulatory reform. The Ivory Prize awards a total of $200,000 to winners that have developed ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to housing affordability. Top 10 finalists will be announced in February, with winners announced in April.

The core of the DCDP is the Pre-Apprenticeship Certified Training (PACT), a Department of Labor recognized, nationally accepted certification and educational curriculum that prepares students for careers in the building trades.  The program is 20% classroom training and 80% hands-on learning which focuses on actual home construction and remodeling projects.

While receiving their training, PACT students assist in the construction of affordable housing units in Allegan County. Units allow a family of four earning just over $53,000 a year, or what is considered a “survival budget” in Allegan County, to have a choice between inadequate, unhealthy, and unsafe housing or an affordable new safe beginning to meet their housing needs.

“The Ivory Prize Advisory Board was very impressed with Community Action’s work to make housing more affordable,” said Kent Colton, Chair of the Ivory Prize Advisory Board. “It’s innovative approaches like Community Action’s that will make housing more affordable, available, and accessible across America. We look forward to sharing and elevating Community Action’s impressive work during the 2020 competition.”

In the inaugural year of the Ivory Prize, four winners were recognized: Landed Homes (co-winner in Finance) is helping educators buy homes in high-cost areas; Home Partners of America (co-winner in Finance) has developed a lend-lease model to boost homeownership; Factory_OS (Construction and Design) is building lower-cost modular multi-family housing; and Community Powered Workshop (Public Policy and Regulatory Reform) helped pave the way for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Austin, TX through its Alley Flat Initiative. These winners and Top 10 finalists shared their work at Housing + Innovation: Lessons from the Ivory Prize” that took place at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The finalists and winners for the Ivory Prized are determined by Ivory Innovations’ Advisory Board, which include some of the top minds in housing from across the country. These include Clark Ivory, CEO of the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation and Ivory Homes; Kent Colton, Colton Housing Group; Carol Galante of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley; Chris Herbert at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies; the Urban Institute’s Laurie Goodman; Natalie Gochnour from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute; John McManus, VP-Editorial Director for Residential at Hanley Wood; and Ryan Smith, Director and Professor of the Washington State University School of Design and Construction.

For more information about the Ivory Prize and Ivory Innovations, check out this video or visit

Ivory Innovations is an applied academic institution at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business dedicated to catalyzing high impact innovations in housing affordability. Ivory Innovations seeks to promote the most compelling ideas in housing affordability by working across sectors, providing monetary awards for groundbreaking innovations and leveraging its network and resources.

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