Affordable housing nonprofit The Community Builders (TCB) is one of five organizations selected to take part in Fannie Mae’s Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge, a nationwide competition to help advance racial equity through housing.

TCB’s Fannie Mae contract will help support its From Our Doors to Yours initiative, which will leverage affordable rental apartments and on-site community life coaches in Chicago, Detroit, and Richmond, Virginia The initiative will empower Black families to achieve higher credit scores through on-time rental payments, build earned savings accounts, and receive cash down payment assistance.

As part of the $5 million competition, 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, vice president of community impact at 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.”

The other awardees are:

· 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. Its 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 Corp. (SCDHC), a nonprofit housing developer in the Richmond metro area. It 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. Its Fannie Mae contract advances their SCDHC Emporia Pathways Project, which includes the construction of affordable housing. The project is part of a three- to five-year construction pipeline that will include rental housing and homeownership opportunities as well as rental and prepurchase counseling, foreclosure prevention services, workforce development training, and a range of financial capability services;

· Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, which 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. Its 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; and

· 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 well-being 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. Its Fannie Mae contract will support its Last Mile Network project, setting the stage to expand the modular micro-factory concept to Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Richmond. 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 learn more the awardees, visit https://www.fanniemae.com/thechallenge/.