November 23, 2021

How the Housing Supply Challenge Support Program Can Help You Bring Your Innovative Housing Supply Solution to the Finish Line

A stock image showing a bunch of tools in the shape of of a house


Through the Data Driven Round, Evergreen provided guidance, mentorship and resources for applicants.

The Housing Supply Challenge, delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), encourages residents, community members, and experts from across Canada to propose innovative solutions that help break down the barriers that limit new housing supply.

Canada’s housing supply crisis is one that affects residents across the country, and will take creativity, collaboration, and support across sectors to solve. The Housing Supply Challenge Support Program, led by Evergreen, is providing ongoing assistance to applicants through events, resources, and programs.

The Challenge is unfolding over multiple rounds. The Data Driven Round, launched in October 2020, asked potential applicants to submit technology solutions or methodologies that can improve the collection, sharing, analysis and integration, and/or presentation of data. In April 2021, 21 shortlisted teams each received $200,000 in funding to prototype their solutions. Solutions selected to receive implementation funding will share a pool of $22.5 million, and will be announced later this month. The Housing Supply Challenge Support Program offered a series of free bilingual programming designed to help applicants put together the strongest prototype possible. From hosting group workshops, to providing access to experts and key resources, Evergreen worked with teams to bring their final submission to the finish line.

Orientation Session

Stage 2 of the Data Driven Round kicked off in March 2021 by welcoming the 21 shortlisted applicants to virtual orientation sessions. The sessions provided an overview of the Stage 2 application process, and provided teams an opportunity to ask CMHC questions about the Stage 2 process. A collated list of questions and answers were shared with applicants following the session.

Participant Needs Assessment

In order to inform a responsive Support Program, all applicant teams participated in interviews designed to assess their needs. The interviews were hosted by the Support Program team and a housing expert. Questions were informed by a pre-interview survey filled out by each team, and by feedback from evaluators on their Stage 1 application. These sessions assessed the expertise and gaps of the shortlisted teams, and enabled Evergreen to customize the support offered to the needs of each team.

Systems and Design Thinking Workshop

The Virtual Systems and Design Thinking Workshop guided applicants to reconsider and reframe their problem statements and proposed solutions as they developed their proof of concept. This session, held early in Stage 2, provided teams an early opportunity to identify gaps and areas of improvement in their current thinking and approach.

Office Hours

Following the Design Thinking Workshop, applicants were invited to participate in optional Office Hours, during which they were able to book a meeting with a member of the Support Program team to brainstorm how to apply systems and design thinking tools as they refined their solutions.

Expert Assistance Program

1:1 Expert Assistance

Once the needs of all shortlisted applicants were defined, following the Participant Needs Assessment, Evergreen recruited a list of nearly four dozen experts. This service identified and connected shortlisted teams to a roster of advisors from different sectors—real estate, development, social housing, homelessness, architecture, urban planning, financing, vulnerable populations, social innovation, and more—to answer questions and provide feedback on proposed solutions. Each team was able to access the experts for personalized advisory sessions. 100% of applicant survey respondents felt better prepared to advance their solution as a result of their expert assistance session.

Pressure Testing Session

Stage 2 applicant teams also shared their solution and tested their assumptions with a panel of up to five experts who provided feedback during a pressure testing session. As part of their individualized support plan, the sessions were scheduled with applicant input from the Participant Needs Assessments. Teams were encouraged to articulate key questions or areas of focus for the experts in their pitch, which guided the experts’ feedback.

Solutions Showcase

The Solutions Showcase took place after the Stage 2 application deadline and provided an opportunity for shortlisted applicants to present elements of their final submitted applications to the Data Driven round evaluation panel. The aim of the event was to provide the evaluation panel with additional information that would help them gain further insight into submitted applications. Attendees included representatives from the shortlisted applicant teams, as well as the evaluation panel selected by CMHC.

Ongoing Support

Dedicated one-on-one support continued to be available throughout Stage 2 to answer questions and provide guidance to applicants as required. Our dedicated phone line and email address remained active and was managed by our bilingual staff.

The Support Program will continue to assist applicants throughout the Housing Supply Challenge. Thinking about submitting an application to a future round? Learn more about the program and sign up for updates from CMHC here.

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