May 23, 2019 · 4 min read

UC Berkeley Terner Center Launches First-of-its-Kind Housing Lab


BERKELEY, CA — Today, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley — in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) — announced the launch of Housing Lab, a new accelerator program that aims to nurture bold new approaches to the nation’s housing challenge. This program will provide support to early-stage entrepreneurs working on critical issues across the housing sector, including business model design, coaching on regulatory issues, technical network access, and non-dilutive seed funding.

Today, one in four renters in the United States spend half their income on rent. Median home prices are rising significantly faster than inflation, and the shortfall of housing production is estimated at 7.3 million units. Housing affordability is a significant barrier for individuals and families all across the country.

“The need for innovative solutions and outside-the-box thinking has never been more urgent, and we’re encouraged by the growing number of entrepreneurs who are challenging our antiquated housing system and considering new ways for housing to be more equitable and affordable across the board,” said Carol Galante, Faculty Director at the Terner Center. “But they need support navigating the complex policy environment and accessing the capital necessary for scale. Housing Lab will support promising ventures in evolving their business models to achieve greater scale and connecting them with industry leaders and capital.”

The Housing Lab builds on the Terner Center’s deep expertise in housing policy and innovation and its unique position sitting between UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and Haas School of Business. The Center maintains a broad network of leaders from the real estate development and finance industries, federal regulators, government agencies, a diverse network of funders, and housing advocates — all of whom will be drawn on to support the work of the entrepreneurs participating in Housing Lab.

“The way housing currently gets designed, financed, approved, and delivered is clearly not meeting the needs of our economy or society, especially in our most vulnerable communities,” said Caitlyn Fox, Justice and Opportunity Director at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “The Housing Lab is poised to bring bold new innovation to the industry that can increase affordability in an equitable manner, and ideally help identify and support leaders from less traditional backgrounds.”

The Terner Center will select five organizations to participate in the inaugural six-month cohort. Applications will open in early June and be accepted through mid-July. The program will start in Fall 2019. It is open to groups and organizations across the United States. If your organization is interested in kickstarting a more cost-effective, inclusive, and modernized housing industry, please visit to be the first to be notified when applications open.


About The Terner Center

The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley is a collaboration between the College of Environmental Design (CED) and the Haas School of Business. The Terner Center leverages applied research and best practices to inform and advance innovation in the planning, financing, design, and development of the built environment. The stated mission of the Terner Center is to formulate bold strategies to house families from all walks of life in vibrant, sustainable, and affordable homes and communities.

Our focus is on generating constructive, practical strategies for public policymakers, and innovative tools for private sector partners to achieve better results for families and communities, particularly those struggling to achieve stability and pursue economic mobility. The Center’s work both draws on and cultivates inspired new thinking of students and will guide the next generation of leaders to advance creative and powerful solutions in housing and the sustainable development of the built environment.

About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Housing Work:

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease, to improving education, to tacking housing affordability. Across three core Initiative areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy, and advocacy to help build an inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. Core to this work is the belief that access to safe, affordable, and accessible housing is essential to community stability and shared prosperity. CZI has partnered with numerous organizations working on innovative solutions in the housing sector, such as: Landed, TechEquity, Eviction Lab, and the Kelsey. CZI has also supported ballot measures related to housing in California, and helped launch the Partnership for the Bay’s Future — a public-private partnership focused on producing, protecting, and preserving housing in the Bay Area.

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