Guilford County Schools awarded $500,000 in nationwide innovation competition

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Guilford County Schools (WGHP file photo)

Guilford County Schools (WGHP file photo)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County Schools was awarded $500,000 in a nationwide innovation competition for an affordable housing submission, according to a GCS news release.

GCS is one of five contract awardees among more than 200 applicants who have won a contract award in Phase Three of the Fannie Mae Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge.

The third phase focused on unique ideas that can be used as solutions to the nation’s affordable housing challenges.

The solution that Guilford County Schools submitted for the challenge is called “Safer Together Green Housing,” which will create a model to teach students employable skills in construction while also increasing the quality and access to affordable housing. The program will utilize GCS’ CTE construction program and partner with local agencies on affordable housing.

“The impact that housing has on individuals’ access to stable, quality education and well-paying jobs is fundamental to understanding and addressing the affordable housing crisis,” said Maria Evans, Vice President, Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation, Fannie Mae. “The five ideas we selected bring new solutions to bear on stubborn housing affordability problems. By developing new partnerships and testing new solutions, we can help empower groups that help families deal with the rising housing costs and stagnant incomes that keep far too many American families from living in healthy, thriving communities.”

“Safer Together Green Housing” is a project that will require collaboration between Cone Health, the City of Greensboro, the Greensboro Housing Coalition, the Regional Council of Governments and two research centers at UNCG.

It will act as an extension of the work that the Invest Health project, sponsored by UNCG, has already done, which has led to over $4.5 million in neighborhood revitalization projects.

Once in place, ”Safer Together Green Housing” will aim to rehab 40 homes every year and plans to grow the CTE construction program to graduate approximately 100 students annually from at least five schools in GCS and provide a model for countless public school districts across the country.

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