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Fannie Mae Challenge Promotes Racial Equity in Housing

Fannie Mae has announced the selection of 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 company sought innovative, scalable proposals to remove barriers that currently prevent many households, including Black households, from purchasing 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. Fannie Mae solicited proposals that specifically address the insufficient supply of quality affordable housing options, 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. 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," said Maria Evans, VP of Community Impact, Fannie Mae. "The proposals we 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."

IC22 Contract Awardees:
  • ReBUILD Metro is 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) is 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 the construction of affordable housing. The project is part of a 3-5-year construction pipeline that will include rental housing and homeownership opportunities 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 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 Fannie Mae 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 is 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 Fannie Mae 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 ChicagoDetroit, 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, 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 Fannie Mae 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.

To read the full release for more information, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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