Since 2010, U.S. rental rates have increased by 36%. One in four U.S. renters spends half of their income on housing, and 4 million cases of housing discrimination occur each year.

Washington State University students and college students from around the region are invited to tackle the challenge of improving affordable housing in the United States as part of the Hack‑A‑House competition.

Students from any major are invited to participate in the virtual, 24‑hour hackathon-type event, starting at noon on Friday, Oct. 2. Teams will be given a prompt related to housing affordability and will have 24 hours to complete and submit an innovative solution.

The way that Americans finance and build their homes has not changed much in the last century, said Ryan Smith, director of WSU’s School of Design and Construction and co-organizer of the event. Home prices are rising faster than inflation, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, and the housing shortfall nationally is estimated at 3.3 million units.

The competition will include three categories in which students can compete —construction, design, and finance, policy and regulatory reform. Once the competition begins, participants will have access to online resources to help them tackle the issue and prepare their presentations. Winning teams in the three categories will receive cash prizes.

The competition is sponsored by Ivory Innovations, which is part of the University of Utah’s Dave Eccles School of Business. Additional university co-sponsors and participants include Washington State University; University of California, Berkeley; the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University; and the University of Texas at Austin.

Visit the Hack‑A‑House website for more information and to register for the hackathon.

Media contacts:

  • Ryan Smith, School of Design and Construction Director,
  • Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture,