News Release

December 18, 2017

Fannie Mae Issues $10 Million ‘Challenge’ to Help Address America’s Affordable Housing Crisis

Now accepting proposals for the Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge

Alicia Jones

202-752-5716

WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) today announced the launch of its Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge (The Challenge). The company will commit $10 million over two years to attract promising ideas that will help it address the nation’s affordable housing issues. The company expects to receive proposals from across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Fannie Mae is seeking proposals to effectively increase access to sustainable communities that Fannie Mae, working with other industry stakeholders, can ultimately scale.

“The Challenge is a responsible way for Fannie Mae to uncover and explore innovative solutions to help address the affordable housing crisis in America. It supports our broad mission to increase housing opportunities across the country that are safe, sustainable, and affordable,” said Jeffery Hayward, Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily, Fannie Mae. “We are excited to collaborate with new partners to source innovative ideas from other sectors.”

The Challenge is part of Fannie Mae’s corporate-wide initiative, Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation. The initiative focuses on developing collaborative, cross-sector approaches to advancing sustainable communities – safe, stable, and thriving communities that provide residents with integrated access to quality affordable housing and opportunities for employment, health and wellness, and education.

“Housing is inextricably linked to the broader community. Accordingly, we recognize that in order to affect systemic change, affordable housing must be approached holistically, by focusing on where it intersects with key components of a sustainable community,” said Maria Evans, Vice President, Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation. “With The Challenge, we are looking for new concepts, designs, and ways of solving our nation’s affordable housing issues from innovators who are working inside and outside of the traditional housing industry. Great ideas can come from anywhere.”

The Challenge will be broken into three phases, each focused on a different affordable housing challenge. The first phase is designed to advance the research, design and development of new ideas and innovative solutions that meet at the intersection of affordable housing and economic and employment opportunities. The first phase, starting December 18, 2017 and accepting proposals through February 23, 2018, seeks ideas to:

  • Expand access to affordable housing in sustainable communities where strong employment opportunities are typically accompanied by high housing costs; and
  • Improve access to quality employment opportunities for residents of existing affordable housing, while making sure housing is affordable to more people.

Proposals will be evaluated against a predetermined set of criteria set forth in the Request for Proposal (RFP) 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 award decisions.

To learn more about The Challenge, including eligibility requirements, or to submit a proposal, please visit www.fanniemae.com/thechallenge.


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 fanniemae.com and follow us on twitter.com/fanniemae.