Preservation Equity Fund

By saving homes on the City of Wilmington’s Demolition by Neglect list, HWF serves our neighbors who are most in need—saving not just their home, but our collective history.

Wilmington’s historic homes are the foundation of our community—and the families within them are the bedrock. Unfortunately, rising costs of home maintenance and repair can lead to the displacement of long-term homeowners, particularly in traditionally underserved communities. This loss further reduces our region’s limited supply of naturally occurring affordable housing—and it weakens the sense of shared history within our historic neighborhoods. 

To address this growing issue, the Historic Wilmington Foundation established the Preservation Equity Fund to save old houses currently on the Demolition by Neglect (DBN) list. For this owner-occupied rehabilitation grant, HWF works with the City of Wilmington to identify endangered properties (located within the Wilmington National Register Historic District) that are owned by individuals in need of financial assistance. HWF then assists qualifying homeowners by providing funds for necessary exterior repairs, which offsets some of the cost burden of owning a historic home. Further, HWF offers advice and support during the rehabilitation process (e.g., identifying qualified contractors and applying for Certificates of Appropriateness when necessary).

Thanks to grants from the 1772 Foundation and New Hanover County, HWF has saved two historic homes through the Preservation Equity Fund!

These repairs address two issues facing our community:

  1. Affordable Housing: By providing financial assistance to low-income homeowners, this program seeks to maintain affordable housing units for families and eliminate the risk of displacement and demolition. This work preserves more than just a house; it preserves the generational wealth the home represents, supporting families with otherwise limited financial means. The homeowners supported by the Preservation Equity Fund are established pillars in their communities; by helping our neighbors remain in place, HWF helps to preserve the cultural character they’ve played a pivotal role in shaping—over decades, over generations.
  2. Climate Change: These repairs fortify homes against climate change events, such as hurricanes, increasing safety for the occupants and neighbors.

HWF’s Preservation Equity Fund saved this home on S. 7th Street!

Interested in working on these projects as a contractor? 

Click here to email Don Helms, HWF’s Resource Coordinator: