This story was originally published in Multifamily Executive.

Fannie Mae is looking for ideas about how to make affordable housing healthier.

The government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) announced Sept. 26 a new call for ideas on healthy affordable housing as part of the company's Innovation Challenge, a key component of Fannie’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, which seeks to reimagine affordable housing and its impact on health. The company is committing two years and $10 million to sourcing new ideas to improve communities through The Innovation Challenge.

Fannie emphasizes the link between affordable housing and the health outcomes of residents in underserved communities. Research shows that poor-quality housing can have a direct, negative impact on a person’s health, and many residents have to choose between the cost of their home and the health and safety of their housing. Homes can often pose health risks through the presence of toxins and molds or inadequate accessibility features.

"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," said Fannie Mae executive vice president and head of multifamily Jeffery Hayward in a news release.

With its call for ideas, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur creative solutions to support low- and moderate-income households, the GSE says. Applicants should 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, visit The application period for the call is open through Nov. 1, 2018.

This story was originally published in Multifamily Executive.