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Incentives and Grants for Historic Preservation

Funding historic preservation projects can be challenging due to often limited funding options. We offer here a brief outline of some of the grant and other incentive programs that are available to help support preservation efforts.  

In California local governments can choose to provide preservation incentives to historic home owners through the Mills Act. Contact the local government to determine what incentives or loan programs are available locally. Qualified local governments may also apply for grants through the Certified Local Government Program (CLG) administered through our office. The CLG grants assist with local preservation planning and programs.

The California Historical Building Code (CHBC) provides regulations for preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, relocation or reconstruction of qualified historic buildings or properties. These regulations are intended to facilitate alternative solutions for such historic buildings or properties so as to preserve their original or restored architectural elements and features as well as meet safety, access, and energy efficiency needs.

Owners of historic income-producing properties may be able to qualify for the Federal Rehabiltation Tax Incentives Program.

The National Park Service Underrepresented Community Grants provide funding to projects that identify and designate historic properites associated with communities currently underrepresented on the National Register of Historic Places. Grants are awarded annually.

There are a few other incentive and loan programs, especially those that provide money for projects compatible with historic preservation goals such as adaptive reuses creating affordable housing or for recreational purposes. For example, a historic building that is adapted for senior housing units may be eligible for funding from state or federal housing programs or a historic building restored for use as a community center may be eligible for funding from recreation grant programs.

Click here for more information on Potential Funding Sources for Historic Preservation

See also Incentives for Historic Preservation in California - Technical Assistance Bulletin #15

NPS Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program - Cost-Share Grants

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program provides funding assistance in the form of cost-share grants, to support the preservation of the most significant and representative historic Route 66 buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural landscapes in the eight states through which the route passes. Assistance is also provided to support research, planning, oral history, and education outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66.

Program cost-share grant funds are provided through congressional appropriations, which are determined each new fiscal year. Project eligibility criteria requires a minimum 50% (1:1) cost-share match provided by the applicant. All preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation projects are required to conform to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Proposition 40 Update - Cultural and Historical Endowment

The California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002" (2002 Resources Bond) provided funding for historic preservation and museums. The program was administered by the California Council for Cultural and Historical Endowment. The final round of funding was in 2007.
Prop 40 Project Award Information is available online and  can be accessed by city, county, or zip code. 

Other Funding Possibilities

The National Trust for Historic Preservation - How to Fund Your Preservation Project