Morehouse Students Awarded $20,000 For Innovative Tech Idea That Helps At-Risk Renters

A group of students, who created a machine to predict increases in rent and utility costs at a particular address over time, were awarded thousands by real estate marketplace Zillow during the HBCU Housing Hackathon.

The competition, where more than 150 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have to think of an innovative idea to win the top prize, has officially come to an end.

Each student had to bring an innovative idea to life to help at-risk renters and struggling first-time home buyers.

A total of 49 teams from 17 different HBCUs competed for the chance to walk away as the winner of Zillow’s HBCU Housing Hackathon, reported Afrotech.

Six teams moved on to the final round — where they had five minutes to present their ideas through live demonstrations to a panel of judges made up of tech industry and Zillow leaders.

Morehouse’s winners included Lockett, Kendall Camp, Grant Commodore, and Joshua Curry.

The group created Reliby, a program that uses a machine to predict increases in rent and utility costs at a particular address over time. Their program also offers renters an early warning about any affordability challenges that may be underway.

They were awarded $20,000 and the winners will also receive brand new laptops to assist in their academic journeys.

Morehouse College’s computer science program department also received a donation of $25,000

“It’s awesome to conceptualize a project that could help a lot of people and not only win this hackathon and receive prizes that are great for my team, but also help earn a donation for our college,” said Paul Lockett, member of team Househouse and senior computer science student at Morehouse College in an official release shared with AfroTech. 

“Coming into this, we had a plan, we executed on it, and we are so happy we had this amazing opportunity to work and learn with Zillow.”

What Is The HBCU Hackathon?

Zillow’s HBCU hackathon is open to students all across the tech spectrum including those with advanced computer coding experience and those with little to no experience.

Thanks to the collaboration with the UNCF and Black Tech Ventures (BTV), Zillow’s HBCU hackathon will equip students with the skills they need through hands-on activities, mentorship, teamwork, and workshops.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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