Community Impact Grant Innovation Program
The Community Impact Grant Innovation Program supports efforts to foster advancements in Innovative Materials, Innovative Building Approaches, Innovative Services, and Innovative Financing. Our program supports groundbreaking ideas, propelling the residential construction industry towards more accessible housing solutions while redefining housing services. Funding is allocated to support initiatives that showcase novel development techniques, pioneer new materials, or innovative housing delivery methods. These innovations should exhibit the potential to serve low-to-moderate-income households more efficiently and effectively. The primary goal is to simplify or improve on construction approaches and housing-related services, making them more efficient and productive. Successful projects are those that offer easily replicable solutions, harnessing the power of tested innovations.
Projects endorsed by this initiative should employ readily available, non-experimental technologies and techniques significantly deviating from traditional methods. The focus is on introducing innovations capable of significant cost reductions or enhancements in the final product. Although initial efficiency gains might not be guaranteed, applicants must provide projections illustrating how the innovation can lead to future cost reductions, shorter project timelines, or other notable improvements.
Priority is given to projects unveiling innovative concepts unprecedented in Virginia. Funding is open to initiatives that introduce fresh ideas to new markets, particularly when addressing critical housing needs identified in those markets. Projects that cater to marginalized communities and very low-income demographics are particularly encouraged to apply.
Virginia Housing intends to collaborate with a third-party evaluator to assess the outcomes of the Innovative Demonstration grants. Applicants are required to cooperate with the evaluator, providing comprehensive project details for evaluation purposes.
Definition of Innovation within the Innovation Grant Program:
In the context of the Innovation Grant Program, innovation signifies a dynamic process that unleashes creativity and fosters progressive thinking within the realms of Innovative Materials, Innovative Building Approaches, Innovative Services, and Innovative Financing. It encapsulates the relentless pursuit of inventive ideas, methodologies, products, services, or financial strategies that redefine the landscape of affordable housing.
Crucially, innovation in this context is about delivering tangible, positive outcomes. It is the art of turning imaginative concepts into practical solutions, thereby enhancing efficiency, accessibility, and quality within affordable housing initiatives. It demands the ability to adapt, learn, and evolve, ensuring that the innovations introduced through the program create lasting impacts and pave the way for sustainable housing solutions for diverse communities.
Requests for Funding
Requests for funds under the Community Impact Grant Innovation Program must fall within one or more of the following objectives. The applicant must clearly demonstrate how this new approach or service will lead to benefits for the occupants of affordable housing. Virginia Housing reserves the right to reject funding requested for any applications that are outside the focus areas listed below:
Construction Projects – up to $500,000 per project
- Innovative Materials:
Objective: Projects under this category should focus on identifying specific challenges within the community related to housing materials. This could include issues such as affordability, sustainability, or availability of suitable materials. The objective is to develop or discover materials that address these challenges effectively.
- Innovative Building Approaches:
Objective: This category centers on redefining the construction process itself. Projects should aim to identify challenges related to traditional building methods, such as time-consuming processes or high labor costs. The objective is to develop innovative construction techniques that streamline the building process while maintaining or improving quality.
- Innovation Project Enhancements:
Objective: This category provides funding to enhance a project that has received financing from Virginia Housing by incorporating an innovative improvement to the project. An example of an enhancement project could be adding a more environmentally sustainable system to a planned multi-family project. The applicable innovation must be added to the project. The innovation grant will not replace funding already approved for the project. The applicant is responsible for ensuring the planned innovation will be allowable within the existing financing agreement with Virginia Housing.
Program Projects – up to $200,000 per project
- Innovative Services:
Objective: In this category, projects should focus on challenges related to housing services, such as property management, maintenance, or community engagement. The objective is to develop innovative services that enhance the overall living experience for residents and address specific community needs.
- Innovative Financing:
Objective: Projects falling under this category should address challenges related to funding and financial accessibility for housing initiatives. This could involve exploring new funding models, financial products, or investment strategies to support affordable housing projects. Innovation grant funding in support of Innovative Financing efforts can be used to develop the model and to build the case for utilization of the methodology. Award of an Innovation Grant in no way implies Virginia Housing has accepted and is prepared to finance with methods outside of our standard financing practices.
- Identification of a Specific Challenge: Clearly define the material, method, or service-related challenge(s) the project aims to overcome, providing context and relevance to the community.
- Assembly of an Appropriate Team: Demonstrate a well-rounded team comprising experts, innovators, and community stakeholders, essential for addressing the identified building challenges. Showcase a well-coordinated partnership network, including service providers, community organizations, and residents, essential for implementing innovative services.
- Implementation Plan: Present a detailed plan outlining how the innovation will be sourced, tested, and integrated within the grant timeframe.
- Outcome: Specify the expected outcomes from the successful completion of the project, including the impact on housing affordability, sustainability, services, occupant satisfaction, or any other relevant factor.
- Program Evaluation: Propose a robust evaluation plan that assesses the effectiveness of the innovation in addressing the identified challenge.
- Sustainability Plan: Outline a strategy for continuing the use of the innovation beyond the grant period, ensuring its continued impact on housing initiatives.