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Fannie Mae Seeks Innovative Housing Ideas

Steve Goode
May 16, 2022
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Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge seeks ideas to advance racial equity in housing, focusing on addressing supply, funding and credit barriers.

Fannie Mae's $5 million call for ideas to advance racial equity in housing is open.

The company announced today the launch of its 2022 Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge (IC22). It's the second time the GSE is seeking innovative ideas to advance racial equity in housing, focusing on addressing supply, funding and credit barriers.

"Fannie Mae is proud to launch the next iteration of the Innovation Challenge and support innovative projects that promote racial equity in housing in the United States," Maria Evans,  Fannie Mae’s vice president of community impact, said. "The housing journey varies depending on who you are, with some people experiencing multiple obstacles as they try to access housing. The innovation challenge aims to address those barriers. Advancing greater equity in housing is rooted in Fannie Mae's mission and integral to our environmental, social, and governance strategy. We are excited to collaborate with new partners to source innovative ideas that help underrepresented populations find quality, affordable, stable places to call 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. IC22 will award contracts to organizations, companies, and individuals implementing or scaling projects that remove barriers currently preventing many households, including Black households, from purchasing or renting a home.

Applicants should focus answering the following questions in their proposals:

  • How will you address the insufficient supply of quality affordable housing options by creating, preserving, or increasing the availability of affordable homes to purchase or rent in sustainable communities for very low-, low-, and moderate-income borrowers and renters?
  • How will you address insufficient funds for security deposits, down payments, closing costs, and reserves for unexpected costs related to renting or purchasing a home?
  • How will you address the obstacles faced by many households, including Black households, of low credit scores and credit invisibility?

The deadline for applications is June 17.

Proposals will be evaluated against a predetermined set of criteria set forth in the Call for Ideas and will go through multiple rounds of review, including a semi-final review by an expert advisory panel comprised of leaders from public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Fannie Mae will make final contract decisions. 

Since 2018, Fannie Mae has awarded more than $7 million to support innovative projects that are tackling the challenges of affordable housing from different angles. Pandemic-inspired projects supported by the fund included a fully virtual homebuyer education program in Brownsville, Tx. and a renter and micro-business relief program in Charlotte, N.C.  

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