The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has partnered with UrbanGeekz as it kicks off promotions for its inaugural Tech Equity Hackathon, scheduled for June 16 –18 in Washington, D.C.
The three-day Hackathon, being held at American University, will challenge students, recent college graduates and others to develop innovative solutions to remove algorithmic bias from the housing and lending sectors.
The Hackathon is open to all residents in the U.S. and its territories. Those interested can access the application here. Individuals with diverse academic backgrounds, ranging from degrees in STEM-based fields to the social sciences, are encouraged to apply.
NFHA will award $40,000 in cash prizes plus giveaways, and the event will also feature interactive workshops and networking opportunities with top industry professionals. Airfare, accommodations, meals, and ground transportation will be provided at no cost to applicants who are selected to attend. “I am so excited to collaborate with UrbanGeekz, which has been intentional in sharing the stories of Black and Latinx individuals in tech,” said Dr. Michael Akinwumi, NFHA’s Chief Tech Equity Officer. “NFHA has been at the forefront of addressing the biases that people of color and women face in the housing and financial services industries.”
“Our Tech Equity Initiative is a multi-faceted effort designed to eliminate bias in algorithmic-based systems used in housing and financial services, increase transparency and explainability for AI tools, outline ethical standards for responsible tech, advance effective policies for regulating AI tools, and increase diversity and inclusion in the tech field. This Hackathon is one way we’re diversifying the pipeline of technologists so that we can achieve these goals,” Dr. Akinwumi added.
During the Hackathon, participants will be divided into teams, and each team will be given one of three problem statements that deal with appraisals, mortgage underwriting, and algorithmic fairness.
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with NFHA on this initiative to challenge participants to come up with real-time solutions to tackle AI bias in the housing and lending sectors,” said Kunbi Tinuoye, founder and CEO of digital news platform UrbanGeekz and Executive Director of the Geekz Ventures pre-accelerator.
“Racial and gender disparities in these sectors are a huge issue. The Tech Equity Hackathon is a unique opportunity for technologists, tech enthusiasts, problem-solvers, and social entrepreneurs to come up with practical solutions to make a real social impact. I would encourage anyone and everyone who cares about inequity to apply to participate.”
The NFHA and UrbanGeekz partnership is a multifaceted campaign to raise awareness and spread the word about the Tech Equity Hackathon. The hackathon’s tech focus is a perfect fit for UrbanGeekz’s tech-savvy audience and its associated channels.
The panel of expert judges for the Hackathon includes John Merrill, FairPlay AI Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer; Dominique Harrison, Director of Racial Equity Design and Data Initiative (REDDI) at Citi; Emmanuel Ogundimu, Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Durham, United Kingdom; and Patrick Murck, President and Chief Legal Officer of Transparent Systems.
The Hackathon is one of several events NFHA is hosting during 2023 to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the Kerner Commission Report and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.
Interested in participating? Then apply now before the 3 am ET May 16 deadline.