Fannie Mae announced Wednesday that it has selected five organizations to receive deliverable-based contracts under the Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge, a nationwide competition to help advance racial equity in housing.
Through the Innovation Challenge 2022 (IC22), the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) sought innovative, scalable proposals to remove barriers that currently prevent many households, including Black households, from buying or renting a home.
The Innovation Challenge is part of Fannie Mae’s Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation initiative, which focuses on developing collaborative, cross-sector approaches to advancing sustainable communities and generating solutions for the nation's most pressing housing issues, the GSE said.
Fannie Mae said it solicited proposals that specifically address the lack of quality affordable housing options, as well as insufficient funds for upfront and unexpected housing costs, and consumer credit challenges, including low credit scores and credit invisibility.
"A history of discriminatory housing policies and practices has created profound inequities in the housing system that persist to this day,” said Maria Evans, Fannie Mae’s vice president of community impact. “The Innovation Challenge is one example of Fannie Mae’s commitment to address those inequities and knock down the barriers that consumers, particularly Black consumers, face throughout the housing journey.”
Evans added that the five proposals selected "provide thoughtful, tangible, scalable solutions to the most salient housing problems people face in the U.S. We are excited to work with these organizations and to support their innovative projects.”
The IC22 contracts selected were:
- ReBUILD Metro: A Baltimore-based nonprofit that works with community members to revitalize neighborhoods block by block and help prepare Black residents for first-time homeownership. Their Fannie Mae contract supports the Johnston Square: A Blueprint for Baltimore project, which will stabilize, restore, and reoccupy scattered-site abandoned and dilapidated properties, and begin the work to convert long-vacant lots into new units of affordable rental housing, street-level retail, and a 4-acre community park, and rehab abandoned properties into mixed-use development and green space.
- Southside Community Development & Housing Corporation (SCDHC): A non-profit housing developer in the Richmond Metro Area, SCDHC creates viable, thriving, and sustainable communities across central Virginia by providing residential and commercial development; homeownership and financial counseling and coaching; employment services; and supportive programs to low-income families. Their Fannie Mae contract advances their SCDHC Emporia Pathways Project, which includes construction of affordable housing. The project is part of a 3- to 5-year construction pipeline that will include rental housing and homeownership opportunitie,s as well as rental and pre-purchase counseling, foreclosure prevention services, workforce development training and a range of financial capability services.
- Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity: This organization brings people together to create, preserve, and promote affordable homeownership and advance racial equity in housing by connecting families with their communities through neighborhood revitalization projects. Their contract will support Advancing Homeownership in the Twin Cities, a partnership with the Minnesota Homeownership Center to create and deploy a down payment assistance product that will help Black households to become homeowners. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity will engage three Community Development Financial Institutions to administer the program and up to 10 regional mortgage lenders to pair the product with their affordable mortgages.
- The Community Builders: A mission-driven real estate development corporation transforming communities with affordable rentals and properties for purchase across the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions. Their contract supports the From Our Doors to Yours project, which will deploy an economic empowerment package to build and repair credit through on-time rental payments. It will leverage affordable rentals in Chicago, Detroit, and Richmond. Onsite community life coaches will connect residents with relevant resources while providing Family Self Sufficiency Services to build savings through earned income.
- Module: A prefab housing company based in Pittsburgh, it started with the goal of making good home design more accessible and a mission to support customers’ health and wellbeing in well-designed, energy-efficient, highly functional homes that will last 100 years. In partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, Module will demonstrate the feasibility of locally owned modular construction micro-factories to complete energy-efficient affordable housing in urban communities of color. Their contract will support their Last Mile Network project, setting the stage to expand the modular micro-factory concept to Prince George’s County, Md., and Richmond, Va. Each facility will train new entrants in the construction trades, securing good-paying jobs while creating affordable housing and enabling Black homeowners and renters to build wealth.
Fannie Mae said IC22 builds on the previous Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge, a nationwide competition that awarded over $7 million to 13 organizations to advance innovative projects that linked affordable housing to education, health, and economic opportunities.
All submitted proposals were evaluated against a predetermined set of criteria and went through multiple rounds of review, including a semi-final review by an expert advisory panel made up of leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The final contract award decisions were made by Fannie Mae.