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Frequently asked questions about this challenge

What is the Housing Security Challenge?

The Housing Security Challenge is a $250,000 grant competition designed to encourage new solutions that respond to the lack of affordable and stable housing in Arizona, not by constructing new housing units, but by addressing the broader context of housing insecurity throughout the state. It invites solutions rooted in supportive services related to racial inequality, economic and physical mobility, social work, public health, education, and more, that can help to create a new generation of innovation around affordable housing.

What do you mean by “housing insecurity?”

According to The Urban Institute, “Housing insecurity can take a number of forms: homelessness; housing cost burden; residential instability; evictions and other forced moves; living with family or friends to share housing costs (doubling-up); overcrowding; living in substandard, poor quality housing; or living in neighborhoods that are unsafe and lack access to transportation, jobs, quality schools, and other critical amenities.” It refers to both the lack of affordable housing units in the state and the many ways in which Arizona residents may not have living situations that are stable, healthy, or safe.

Who can apply?

We are looking for creative solutions from organizations or a coalition of organizations within the United States. Lead applicants may be:

  • An entity under section 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) or (2) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) that has received a tax determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).
  • A private foundation under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC that has received a tax determination letter from the IRS.
  • A for-profit corporation organized under the laws of a state (or territory) in the United States.
  • A benefit corporation, flexible purpose entity, or similar “hybrid” entity organized under the laws of a state (or territory) in the United States.
  • A limited liability company or partnership organized under the laws of a state (or territory) in the United States.

Teams of organizations are encouraged to work together in developing their application. Individuals are not eligible for this challenge. Refer to the Rules for more information about eligibility.

Is this competition limited to organizations within the state of Arizona?

This competition is open to eligible organizations throughout the United States. While organizations are not required to be located in Arizona, they will need to demonstrate a deep understanding of local context in order to competitively meet the criteria laid out in the scoring rubric.

What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?

Arizona currently ranks third as the worst state in the nation for low-income families seeking housing security. Arizona also faces unique issues due to divides between its urban and rural populations, and the comparatively small investment in affordable housing from state government. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown these pre-existing issues into sharper focus, while exposing new fault lines in the links between housing, health, and economic mobility.

What types of submissions are you looking for?

We are looking for innovative solutions that have the potential to serve as models to address housing insecurity across the state and benefit our racially and economically diverse communities. Specific criteria for proposals are laid out in the scoring rubric.

We recognize that housing security sits at the very center of an array of overlapping issues that are vital to community health, wellbeing, and resilience. While building supply is part of any equation trying to solve for affordable and stable housing, increasing housing security for Arizonans requires thinking beyond the availability of housing units. This competition will not provide funding for the construction or renovation of housing units; rather, we want to address the broader context of housing insecurity and find ideas that can seed the next generation of affordable housing innovation in our state.

How will applications be evaluated?

After the submission deadline, the Housing Security Challenge team will perform an administrative review to confirm each submission meets the rules and application requirements before advancing eligible submissions to the evaluation panel. Evaluation panelists will use the four criteria included in the scoring rubric: compelling, feasible, impactful, and scalable. All valid applicants will receive scores and comments from the evaluation panel, and scores will be statistically normalized to ensure fairness.

The Arizona Community Foundation will review the top-scoring submissions and request additional information as needed to select up to five Finalists. Those finalists will be invited to participate in a live pitch event with the Selection Committee in spring 2021. That Committee will make the final determination of the $250,000 awardee.

How do we apply?

Review all of the information about this competition, including the rules and the application, to assess your eligibility and fit for this challenge. Then, be sure to register no later than Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Registration is required and is a simple two-step process. First, create a username and password, then check your inbox to confirm your registration. Next, complete the online registration form. Once you are registered, develop and submit your application online no later than Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Can we submit more than one proposal?

An applicant can serve as the lead and/or a partner on multiple proposals, as long as the proposed solutions are different and separate. There should be no overlap in team members. Given the amount of time needed to develop a compelling application, this policy is meant to ensure that any team is concentrating their best effort into a single application. We encourage teams to select a single project that best represents your organization's ability to deliver a solution that is compelling, feasible, impactful, and scalable. Please review the scoring rubric for more information on how your application will be assessed.

I still have questions! What should I do?

Email us at and a member of our team will get back to you.

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