Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Elemental Excelerator and Finance New Orleans Open Applications for the Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge

Local climate technology companies, entrepreneurs, housing developers, community members and public agencies are encouraged to apply to create affordable and disaster-resilient homes in New Orleans, serving as a model for future developments

HONOLULU, March 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Following the successful launch of their financing partnership, Elemental Excelerator and Finance New Orleans (FNO) are excited to announce that applications are now open for the Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge. This collaborative initiative, born out of a shared commitment to integrate innovative climate technologies into affordable and resilient housing solutions, invites entrepreneurs, community members, public agencies and housing developers to contribute to the creation of sustainable homes that are designed for New Orleans and will serve as models for future developments.

The Challenge, opening applications today, aims to fund the development and retrofit of thirteen sites in the Pontchartrain Park and Central City neighborhoods and advance innovation in building materials, building performance, and creative labor solutions, thus reducing the cost of high performing homes. The initial $2M fund, combined with FNO’s Green Mortgages Program, will finance resilient homes responsive to local climate, budget and context, incorporating sustainable technology in design, construction and operation.

Damon Burns, CEO of Finance New Orleans, emphasizes the significance of the partnership, stating, “This is about shaping a city that is more resilient, sustainable and adaptive to the needs of our residents. By leveraging green financial strategies and cutting-edge technologies, the Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge is a significant step towards building a cleaner, greener and more vibrant future for our community. This initiative serves as a beacon, inspiring other housing finance organizations to join us in the journey of innovation and community-driven progress.”

“This local New Orleans collaboration is about building sustainable homes as well as building wealth for resilient communities,” Elemental Excelerator COO Avra van der Zee said. “We are excited to kick off the next phase of our partnership with Finance New Orleans as an open call to innovators across the value chain of home development and we’re anticipating seeing a diverse range of solutions that will help create affordable and long-lasting homes for New Orleanians and their families.” 

In close collaboration with the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance and Neighborhood Development Foundation (NDF), Elemental and FNO are working to gather invaluable input from local residents, potential homebuyers and homebuilders. This collective effort will also incorporate feedback from key stakeholders, including the National Association of Local Housing Finance Authorities (NALHFA), Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA). This inclusive approach ensures that the solutions chosen are grounded in local context and history and informed by past mistakes to truly meet the needs of the residents currently living where the homes will be built.

With the goal of community-driven solutions at its core, Michelle Whetten, the vice president of the Gulf Coast Market and senior advisor at Enterprise Community Partners, adds, “I’m thrilled to witness innovative ideas that go beyond ordinary solutions. As a judge for the Resilient New Orleans Innovation Challenge, I’m looking for projects that address housing challenges while contributing to broader community resilience. The intersection of creativity and impact. This initiative is about more than just houses. It’s about shaping the future of our communities and paving the way for a sustainable and resilient tomorrow.”

As Elemental and Finance New Orleans deepen their collaboration, they invite individuals and organizations to join them in shaping the future of sustainable housing in New Orleans. To learn more and get involved, sign up here

About Finance New Orleans
Finance New Orleans is a housing and development finance agency serving all New Orleanians to better our community. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in New Orleans by directly investing in the creation of affordable housing and economic development projects that produce quality jobs and wealth for residents.

About Elemental Excelerator
Elemental is a nonprofit investor in climate technologies with deep community impact. We bring more than a decade of experience across the climate sector, with an active and maturing portfolio of 150+ companies. Elemental fills two gaps fundamental to addressing climate change: funding projects for climate technologies in communities and embedding equity and access into climate solutions. We invest in transformative technologies to create a systems change for a more resilient, equitable future.

Media Contact: [email protected] 

SOURCE Elemental Excelerator

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