Building Innovation for Homeownership

The Building Innovation for Homeownership (BIH) Program is a major initiative of the National Partners in Homeownership to expand the possibility of the “American Dream”: to own a home. The Partners—65 public, private, and nonprofit organizations convened by President Clinton—have come together to initiate various joint projects and actions that collectively will expand housing opportunities by adding 8 million new homeowners by the year 2000. This goal is to be achieved through the active collaboration of public and private housing industry groups.

The Partnership has made cutting the cost of housing one of its basic strategies for expanding homeownership. Lower development and production costs translate into more affordable housing prices, increasing the pool of eligible homebuyers. A key to encouraging the adoption of such innovations is awareness and education. As described in its mission statement, Partners in the American Dream, the Partnership seeks to “lead a public/private effort to accelerate adoption of technological innovation in the homebuilding industry to increase the use of innovative new technologies and produce less costly and more energy- and resource-efficient new homes.” The awards program and this book are part of that effort.

The BIH Program was created to recognize housing projects across America that employ innovative homebuilding technology, design, and development to make homeownership a reality. An awards program, with winners selected by Partner participants, would highlight innovations that can easily be used by designers, developers, and contractors around the country. Eligible projects were those that used generally available, non-experimental technologies and techniques that vary significantly from approaches usually taken in housing construction. Projects also had to be below the median cost of new single-family housing in the region where they were constructed. The program sought a diversity in applicants and technologies. Non-profit developers and others serving special user and very low-income needs were encouraged to apply. Manufactured, modular, and industrialized housing as well as site-built technologies qualified for the BIH Program. Applicants to the program came from across the U.S. The projects were juried by a Partnership Board and representatives of HUD. This jury selected 63 award winners.

In addition to the recognition of a national awards program, the National Partners are committed to working with the developers of these projects to assure that they are successfully and quickly completed and offer the benefits of homeownership to the broadest range of potential buyers. Many Partners, or their member organizations, offer extensive programs that can provide potential homebuyers with financing options that are not otherwise readily available in the marketplace. A number of Partners have agreed to make these programs available to winning projects. HUD is also committed to assuring that existing FHA, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, and counseling programs support these projects. 

Building Innovation for Homeownership
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