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Press Release

Fannie Mae Calls for Ideas on Healthy Affordable Housing

September 26, 2018

$10 Million Innovation Challenge Seeks Proposals that Solve for a Healthier Future

Ashley Stoney


WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae announced today a new Call for Ideas on Healthy Affordable Housing. The application period is open from September 26, 2018 through November 1, 2018. This Call for Ideas is part of The Innovation Challenge, a key component of Fannie Mae's Sustainable Communities Initiative challenging public, private, and nonprofit sector organizations to reimagine affordable housing as the prescription for a healthy life.

In underserved communities, affordable housing and health outcomes of residents are inextricably linked. The Innovation Challenge, a two-year, $10 million commitment to source new ideas through entering into contracts for services by reaching outside of Fannie Mae and our traditional partners, aims to support and accelerate the development of promising solutions that serve communities in different ways. Uncovering and exploring new ways to address our nation’s housing needs, starting with affordable homes in underserved communities, is a major step towards a healthier future.

"At Fannie Mae, we are committed to increasing access to healthy, affordable housing," said Fannie Mae's Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily Jeffery Hayward. "The Innovation Challenge addresses the evolving needs of homebuyers, homeowners, and renters where they overlap with health and wellness issues. Access to affordable homes that keep residents safe and healthy is a critical industry issue, and one that requires us to look at how housing and health impact each other in order to find the best solutions."

"We recognize the value in breaking down silos to work with new partners on issues that are inextricably linked to affordable housing in order to create comprehensive solutions," said Fannie Mae's Vice President of Sustainable Communities Maria Evans. "We are fostering sustainable communities by incubating innovative ideas that directly address our mission to bring affordability and stability to underserved areas and help ensure those residents have access to healthy, affordable, safe places to call home."

Research shows that poor quality housing can have a direct, negative impact on a person's health. Today, too many people are forced to make trade-offs between the affordability of their housing and the health and safety of their housing. Fannie Mae's intent is to help people across the U.S. gain access to healthy affordable housing through initiatives like The Innovation Challenge.

In response to health risks that are worsened by the presence of toxins and molds in homes as well as inadequate accessibility features, and to spur creative solutions to support low and moderate income households, The Innovation Challenge welcomes applicants to propose ideas that respond to one or more of the following problem statements:

  • How might we use innovative technology and design to improve affordable homes to better support health, promote overall wellness, or prevent disease and illness?
  • How might we leverage finance vehicles to incentivize the creation of affordable homes that promote health and wellness?
  • How might we foster design that promotes diverse, sustainable, multigenerational affordable communities in which all individuals can remain a vibrant part of their community through every stage of life?

For more information about The Innovation Challenge and to apply, please visit Interested applicants must complete all required sections of the online application in order to apply.

Fannie Mae helps make the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and affordable rental housing possible for millions of Americans. We partner with lenders to create housing opportunities for families across the country. We are driving positive changes in housing finance to make the home buying process easier, while reducing costs and risk. To learn more, visit and follow us on