Preservation Equity Project


Preservation Durham has launched a new initiative, the Preservation Equity Project (PEP), to help low- and moderate-income homeowners in historic districts retain ownership of their properties while protecting architectural character. PEP provides small grants to fund maintenance and repair on National Register-listed dwellings that are owned by households with incomes less than 70 percent of the Durham metro area, median family income. PEP grants come with assistance in identifying appropriate repair methods and selecting contractors who understand historic houses. In return, owners agree to preservation easements aimed at maintaining historic and architectural character.

Our hope is that these small grants can help longtime homeowners maintain and repair their dwellings rather than sell. PEP grants can also help longtime owners age in place and maintain ownership through multiple generations, keeping people connected to their history. Owning one’s home is a primary source of building household wealth in the United States. Historically, lower-income families own homes for shorter periods and therefore benefit less. With this program, Preservation Durham hopes to bring some equity and access to the preservation movement.


Consider becoming a PEP sponsor. We accept both financial support or advisory board volunteers with experience in grant funding and construction projects. Contact Loni Price at 919-682-3036 or email at


The Preservation Durham Board will review completed grant applications and award historic house repair grant awards to eligible applicants, properties, and projects in the target area. The applicants will be reviewed on a monthly basis as funds are available. When an application is approved, PD will work directly with pre-selected contractors. In approved situations, the applicant can work with their own contractor and be reimbursed on approved work.


Grant funds will pay the contractor directly to complete the work. Grant awards range from $1,000 to $6,500 as determined by the review board. Funds for the grant were received by our generous donors. None of the funds were received from the government.


  • Stokesdale Historic District
  • College Heights Historic District
  • Walltown Neighborhood
  • West End Neighborhood
  • Low-income Durham County census tracts
  • Potentially historic properties listed in the Durham African-American Inventory & Preservation Plan of 2009-2013


  • Owner occupant
  • Household income less than 70% Durham area median
  • Agree not to sell the home for 2 years after completion of project
  • Agree to placing preservation easement on the property’s exterior in perpetuity


  • Single-family & duplex buildings
  • Historically or architecturally significant (contributing) in the National Register of Historic Places or Districts
  • “Contributing” means that the property was built within the specificed dates of signaficance, contributes to the historic character of the district, and has not been significantly altered from its original design.
  • Eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Otherwise PD-approved property


  • Repair of historic porch & porch features
  • Repair of windows & doors
  • Repair & update plumbing and/or electrical systems
  • Work generally approvable for historic rehabilitation tax credits


  • Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $6,500
  • Project must be able to be completed within 12 months of starting
  • Project budget must match the grant award amount
  • Funds are limited and the program cycle ends when funds are exhausted


To apply for a grant:

  • Download the PEP Grant Application read and review the guidelines and instructions. Click here to download the interactive application.
  • Confirm the historic designation status of your property using the NC State Historic Preservation Office’s interactive map HPOWEB 2.0 by clicking here.
  • Complete the application and mail it with all required supporting documentation to:
Preservation Durham 
P.O. Box 25411 
Durham, NC 27702

or email to

For questions email

The Preservation Equity Project is working to create equity in the historic preservation process for Durham residents. Based on the incredible success of Cleveland’s Heritage Home Program, Preservation Durham aspires to model that in Durham.

By providing small, home rehabilitation grants, the Preservation Equity Project pilot program helps homeowners within the College Heights National Register Historic District:

  • Retain homes, the primary source of wealth in America, in working-class and minority families.
  • Empowers older residents to age in place, by making accessibility modifications like ramps, door pulls, flooring, etc. Saving the family years of senior care costs.
  • Retain the fabric of the neighborhoods, keeping smaller, older homes in place, and keeping families connected to their homeplace.
  • Rehabilitate their properties to make them safe and comfortable, while increasing their equity and family wealth.

The Preservation Equity Project was selected as a finalist for Triangle Community Foundation’s 2017 Innovation Award.
See how we pitched the project:

PEP Info Graphic PEP Video

Project Partners


with support from