Fannie Mae's 5 picks for $10M social determinants of health initiative

Fannie Mae chose five organizations to receive contract awards under the housing finance firm's $10 million Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge, which is aimed at tackling social determinants of health.

The award recipients were chosen because of their potential to "reimagine housing as a prescription for a healthy life," said Maria Evans, vice president of Fannie Mae's sustainable communities partnership and innovation. Housing insecurity can affect health outcomes, she added.

Here are the five awardees:

1. Children's National Health System (Washington, D.C.): To combat childhood asthma-related hospital visits, the health system will lead a program for virtual home visits. Medical providers will use smartphones to conduct the virtual visits and assess whether conditions in a resident's home could trigger asthma-related illnesses. The provider will also connect home residents with resources to mitigate conditions.

2. Community Opportunity Fund: The nonprofit affordable housing agency will extend its telehealth intervention for seniors to an affordable housing community in Newark, N.J. As part of the program, telehealth equipment will be installed in seniors' homes so nurses can measure their vitals and check their health status.

3. Local Initiatives Support: To incentivize hospitals and payers to invest in affordable housing as a way to improve health outcomes, LISC will establish an innovative capital funding structure that illustrates how health and wellness services can be integrated with housing development initiatives.

4. HRDC (Bozeman, Mont.): The nonprofit community action agency, which provides services for housing, food and nutrition and community development, will build a community of trauma-informed designed tiny homes for previously homeless adults. The project aims to help formerly homeless individuals feel safe in their homes while addressing stressors of homelessness and mental illness.

5. Vertical Harvest (Jackson Hole, Wyo.): Vertical will help improve food security and nutrition by employing underserved populations in Chicago for the organization's vertical greenhouses initiative. Vertical's farming helps support affordable housing and provides fresh produce to low-income communities.

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