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Jeff Cheung: Addressing the Challenge of the US Housing Shortage

Jeff Cheung: Addressing the Challenge of the US Housing Shortage

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Jeff Cheung, the co-founder and CEO of Buildoly. Let’s learn what’s happening at Buildoly and how Jeff is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Jeff, thanks a million for talking to me today. What can you tell me about the challenge that you’re addressing through Buildoly?

Jeff: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Buildoly is addressing the challenge of the housing shortage. A recent estimate showed that the US is short an astounding 6.5 million homes. And In places like California, over 80% of families cannot afford a standard single-family home. It’s clear we need to build more homes, more quickly. Building a home can be a daunting and complicated process for most homeowners, with the need for multiple vendors such as lenders, architects, engineers, material suppliers, and contractors. By combining all of these services into a single platform, we make the homebuilding process more seamless, efficient, and accessible. Our mission is to create a world where everyone has a home to live in and where anyone can build a home with the click of a button.

Spiffy: Tell me, what motivates you to do it?

Jeff: I know firsthand how daunting and complicated the homebuilding process can be, especially for individuals who don't have a background in architecture or construction. I was inspired to co-found Buildoly after working with a client named Mike, who had a difficult time building a home for his parents. It was a long and frustrating process, and it made me realize that there had to be a better way to help people achieve their dreams of homeownership. Seeing the impact that Buildoly has had on families like Mike's, and knowing that we're making a difference in the housing crisis, is what keeps me motivated every day.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Jeff: At Buildoly, our impact is to increase access to housing and make the homebuilding process faster and more affordable. Our mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable housing. By streamlining the homebuilding process, we make it possible for more people to build homes that fit their needs and budgets. We believe that the power of homebuilding should be in the hands of individual homeowners, not just developers and contractors. On a broader scale, as we increase the housing stock, we'll drive prices down and make homeownership more accessible to more people. Our impact is not just on homeowners, but on the entire community. We believe that everyone deserves a home to live in, and we're committed to making that a reality.

Spiffy: So inspiring! Thanks for speaking with me today, Jeff—it’s been an honor!

Jeff Cheung is a graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is the co-founder and CEO of Buildoly, a streamlined homebuilding platform that leverages technology to make homebuilding accessible to everyday people. He is also the Founding Principal at Studio Assembly, an award-winning architecture firm with over 15 projects across the US. (Nominated by Alex Parks at the Harvard Innovation Labs. First published on the Ladderworks website on June 22, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.