Preservation Equity Fund

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

In 2021, the Historic Wilmington Foundation embarked upon a partnership with the City of Wilmington designed to save old houses currently on the Demolition by Neglect (DBN) list. Grant funding from the 1772 Foundation allowed us to initiate this pilot program, in which the City identifies endangered properties and then HWF works with eligible homeowners, providing grant money for necessary repairs. In addition to funding, HWF provides advice and support during the repair process.

With this pilot program, HWF has developed an impactful initiative that directly serves our neighbors who are most in need—saving not just their home, but our community’s collective history. The success in implementing the program’s first project (a home on South 7th Street, occupied by two generations of a local family) has created a blueprint for future endeavors. 

These repairs address two issues pressing our community: affordable housing and climate change. By providing financial assistance to low-income families, this program seeks to maintain affordable housing units for families and eliminate the risk of displacement and demolition. Further, these repairs fortify homes against climate change events, such as hurricanes, increasing safety for the occupants and neighbors.

In selecting potential properties to receive assistance, the City has chosen historic properties that have been neglected purely due to a homeowner’s financial hardship. These old-house stewards love their homes, they want to preserve their homes, they may even want to pass them down to their children. But unfortunately, an inability to pay for repairs is putting the properties and their futures in jeopardy. That’s where the Historic Wilmington Foundation steps in—to preserve and protect our irreplaceable built history, and to support and empower our neighbors. 

This home on South 7th Street is the first home repaired thanks to the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Preservation Equity Fund! 

photo credit: Historic Wilmington Foundation