Morgan State University Students Secured The Bag, Winning Zillow's HBCU Housing Hackathon

This year’s Zillow HBCU Housing Hackathon winner is Morgan State University. The annual contest brought together 65 teams with only six of them moving on to compete in the final round.

This is Zillow’s second Hackathon, with over 200 HBCU students competing to develop innovative methods to assist renters and first-time home buyers. Hoping to receive cash prizes, student teams displayed their creations for Zillow and tech-industry leaders.

In collaboration with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Amplify 4 Good, three teams were selected to take home prizes for their impactful housing solutions through technology. Each judge felt the selected teams could elevate Zillow’s mission to help buyers overcome hurdles on the path to becoming homeowners.

After participating in the competition with her peers, Nanfwang Dawurang, a member of ZillowBears and a senior computer science student at Morgan State University, told PRN she now believes progress can always be made when people band together.

“I wanted to participate in the hackathon to learn more about the real estate industry and explore on a deeper level how technology can help solve the most prominent issues people face every day when trying to secure a home,” Dawurang said.

“Seeing how different people look at the same issue in completely different ways and the various innovative and exciting ideas presented in tackling housing issues showed me that progress can always be made when people come together and are intentional about solving a problem,” she added.

Dawurang, Oluwadara Dina, Saad Nadeem and Godsheritage Adeoye were the members of the first place team for their invention, the “Z-Save” application. According to PRN, the application was curated to highlight disproportionate mortgage denial rates for Black and Latinx borrowers. With the application, buyers can work on building a consistent payment history and can receive a “Z-score” as a means of credit.

Paul Lockett, a member of last year’s winning team and a 2022 Morehouse College graduate, told PRN he’s proud of the teams and even happier institutions will gain some coins off of the students’ win.

“It’s awesome to conceptualize a project that could help a lot of people and not only win the hackathon and receive prizes that are great for my team, but also help earn a donation for our college,” Lockett said. “We had a plan, we executed on it and we are so happy we had this amazing opportunity to work and learn with Zillow.”

Additional teams, Straw Hat Crew of Fisk University and First Move of Howard University, were second and third place winners, respectively.