First-ever Innovation Challenge Awards Offer Nearly $5 Million for Game-Changing Solutions in Fight Against Homelessness

Today, the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative launched the Housing Innovation Challenge, a call for proposals that will award $4.5 million from the Measure H Housing Innovation Fund for creative and scalable permanent housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness in LA County. Concurrently, the Watt Family Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles launched the LA Homelessness Challenge, which will award $400,000 for proposals to offer innovative service models for people experiencing homelessness in LA County.  At a time of heightened partnership and collaboration in the region, these two efforts are designed to inspire and activate stakeholders and creative strategists across the region to contribute sustainable solutions to homelessness.

The Housing Innovation Challenge will make multiple $500,000 or $1 million awards for faster, cost-effective construction/rehabilitation and/or creative finance models to produce permanent housing   for the County’s most vulnerable residents. Projects must result in the production of permanent housing for homeless families or individuals in LA County.

The LA Homelessness Challenge is a partnership between the Watt Family Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, with administration from the Home For Good Funders Collaborative. Now in its sixth year, the Funders Collaborative has coordinated investments from leading private and public funders to spark ideas, concepts, and systems that have gone on to become local and national standards. The competition aims to deliver a pipeline of service delivery solutions that can easily expand with more support. Two awards of $200,000 will be provided.

“These Challenges come at a critical juncture in the Countywide movement to combat and prevent homelessness,” said Phil Ansell, Director, Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.   “While the first decrease in the Homeless Count numbers in four years is encouraging, there is a great deal of work ahead.  The Housing Innovation Challenge is a unique opportunity to solicit new approaches and continue to advance our efforts to help people move from homelessness to housing.”

“We’re lucky to have a strong set of existing plans and solutions, and we’re thrilled to welcome the brightest thinkers and practitioners to push us even further,” said Chris Ko, Director of Homeless Initiatives, United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “Innovation comes in many forms, and just as much as new ideas, this is a call for models and approaches to deliver what’s working more efficiently and effectively.”

“By funding awards through the LA Homelessness Challenge, we are optimistic that we will be able to find groundbreaking and scalable solutions that will provide tremendous relief to the thousands of homeless people in our County, and ultimately, ease us out of this crisis once and for all,” said Nadine Watt, President of Watt Companies.

For more information and to apply:  

  • Housing Innovation Challenge
    • Applicants must register on the website by September 5, 2018. Eligible organizations must submit their proposals by October 2, 2018.
    • To learn more or to register for the Housing Innovation Challenge, please visit:
  • LA Homelessness Challenge
    • To participate, applicants must first register on the website by August 21, 2018. Then they must complete a substantive online application, detailing the solution and budget by September 5, 2018.
    • To learn more or to register to apply to the LA Homelessness Challenge, please visit:

About Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative

The Housing Innovation Challenge is offered by the LA County Homeless Initiative, created by the LA County Board of Supervisors and charged with combating and preventing homelessness throughout the County. The Chief Executive Office/County Homeless Initiative provides oversight and hands-on guidance to deploy the infusion of funds from the landmark Measure H sales tax for services and programs and maximize the alignment and effectiveness of this unprecedented commitment. For more information, visit

About United Way of Greater Los Angeles
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization fighting to end homelessness and poverty by providing students with support needed to graduate high school prepared for college and the workforce, providing housing for our homeless neighbors, and helping hard-working families become financially stable. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit

About Watt Companies

Watt Companies offers comprehensive and diversified real estate services across the United States to investors and partners, homebuyers and commercial customers. These services include commercial development, homebuilding, asset management, and the realization of capital investments. In its 70- year history, Watt Companies has developed homes for over 100,000 families, built over eight million square feet of industrial and professional office space, developed more than 50 shopping centers, three major first-class hotels, and six major master-planned communities.