$10 Million Fannie Mae Innovation Challenge Selects Five Proposals to Address Affordable Housing and Health

Columbus, OH. Tuesday, May 22, 2019. Fannie Mae has announced that Vertical Harvest (VH), in partnership with the National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT), received a contract award under the Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge: Healthy Affordable Housing. The Challenge is an open competition seeking innovative ideas that will bring affordability and stability to underserved areas and help ensure residents have access to healthy, quality affordable, safe places to call home.

Vertical Harvest provides employment for underserved populations by growing food at a commercial scale via vertical greenhouses. This project will explore and evaluate the integration of vertical farming within affordable housing in Chicago to help build a scalable model for future housing developments, improve food security, nutrition, while also promoting holistic community wellness. Vertical Harvest and NAHT will partner with affordable housing developers in Chicago to determine the “right size” for a vertical farm adjacent to affordable housing.

"We are thrilled to be selected by Fannie Mae for this contract award. Vertical Harvest and National Affordable Housing Trust have responded to the challenge with a collaboration that envisions the first-ever combination of affordable housing and vertical farming connecting healthy food, housing and jobs,” said Lori Little, President and CEO of National Affordable Housing Trust. "This award presents an opportunity for us to partner with Vertical Harvest on the critical issue of food security and adjacency to affordable housing." These partners plan to launch an investment fund to make these projects a reality. 

About the partners:

VH is an impact-driven business that provides inclusive, meaningful employment by growing local food for communities via vertical greenhouses adapted to work in diverse urban contexts. VH’s focus is to build cost-effective, profitable hydroponic farms that will not only act as innovative, sustainable urban models for growing fresh food, but also have a substantial social and economic impact on employees and their community (https://www.verticalharvestjackson.com/). 

NAHT, an affiliate of Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, is a non-profit Low-Income Housing Tax Credit syndicator who has provided over $1 billion in investment capital over the past 30 years. NAHT develops innovative capital resources that focus not only on housing but provide benefits to the residents. The developers NAHT works with are mission focused and believe in providing service-enriched affordable housing (https://www.naht.org). 

For media inquiries, contact: Heather Holland, [email protected], (614)917-2864 or Nona Yehia, [email protected], (917)887-7656.

Read Fannie Mae's full press release.