Fannie Mae — A partner in addressing social determinants of health?

Housing finance firm Fannie Mae is positioning itself as a partner in tackling social determinants of health, like housing, through its "Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge."

Almost 1 in 3 households spends more than 30 percent of income on housing, according to Fannie Mae. The three-phase challenge funds partnerships with sectors adjacent to housing to increase access to affordable housing. Fannie Mae launched the final phase April 24 and is seeking ideas to expand access and increase the supply of quality affordable housing, while creating opportunities in education. An advisory panel will assist Fannie Mae in choosing the awardees, who will receive up to $1.5 million in funding to make their proposal a reality.

The first phase targeted housing and employment and the second targeted housing and health. Awardees for the second phase have not yet been announced. Phase one awardees included Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children's Hospital. Its proposal focused on addressing the issue of rising rental costs surrounding the hospital, which pushed out low-income employees. With Fannie Mae's funding, Nationwide Children's will build and pilot a 170-unit affordable housing development with on-site healthcare workforce training on Columbus' South Side.

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