Low-Income Historic Housing Rehabilitation Program

The Low Income Historic Housing Rehabilitation Program was created to encourage the repair and rehabilitation of historic residential properties providing housing opportunities for persons and families with low-incomes. The program funds critical building maintenance; structural stabilization work; repair and rehabilitation of historic exterior features such as roofs, walls, windows and doors.

All projects are required to meet city historic preservation guidelines, as well as the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The city will pay 70 percent for eligible work when the 30 percent match is paid by a non-profit organization and for projects where matching funds are provided by an outside agency or other city assistance program. The city pays 80 percent for eligible exterior rehabilitation work on projects where individual grant recipients do not receive funding assistance from a non-profit organization, another agency or assistance program to cover the remaining costs.

The minimum request the city will consider is $3,000 and the maximum funding amount is $30,000. In exchange for receiving funding assistance, owners convey a conservation easement to the city for a period of 15 to 20 years depending on the funding amount.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Eligible applicants include:
    • Property owners with an income at or below 80 percent of median household income for Maricopa County (current income limits) (PDF); or
    • Property owners who are pre-qualified for the Comprehensive Housing Rehabilitation Program, Rental Rehabilitation Program (where at least 51 percent of the tenants have an income at or below 80 percent of the median household income) or other income-assisted housing program administered by the city; or
    • Non-profit agencies, community development corporations or community organizations with 501.C(3) status (in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations) whose primary mission is to provide low- to moderate-income housing opportunities, encourage reinvestment in older neighborhoods and/or promote neighborhood stabilization and improvement.
  • To be considered for funding, applicants must own the property to be rehabilitated or possess legal authorization from the owner to apply for funding. Applicants must provide evidence of demonstrated site control through a lease, purchase contract or option to purchase. Both owner-occupied and rental properties are eligible. All owners must be willing to execute required legal documents. Non-profit organizations may receive funding for more than one project at a time.
  • All properties must be listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register and contribute or potentially contribute (once project is completed) to the historic character of the property, site or district as determined by the city Historic Preservation Office.
  • All proposed projects must conform to the City of Phoenix General Design Guidelines for Historic Properties (PDF) and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as determined by the city Historic Preservation Office.

Eligible Improvements
The program’s main focus is to assist projects that substantially rehabilitate historic residential building exteriors. The city's Historic Preservation Office determines the eligibility of all proposed work items. Eligible exterior work can include:

  • Exterior wall repairs
  • Roof repairs/replacement
  • Foundation repairs
  • Masonry/stucco repairs
  • Porch and step rehabilitation
  • Cornices and parapet repairs
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) alterations
  • Exterior woodwork/trim
  • Exterior window and door repairs and weatherization improvements
  • Historic outbuilding/carport rehabilitation
  • Reversal of previous inappropriate alterations
  • Reconstruction of original architectural elements based on documentation/evidence
  • Demolition of non-historic additions
  • Re-painting (if needed to complete other items)
  • Structural rehabilitation/reinforcement

Interior work may be eligible only if necessary to stabilize or structurally support the building’s historic exteriors.

Pre-agreement/architectural and engineering costs (soft costs) may qualify if they are related directly to eligible work and if costs were incurred within two (2) years prior to and /or one (1) year after application date, and amount to no more than 20 percent of the total funding request. This can include historic structure reports, site planning, feasibility studies, design work and construction drawings and specifications.

The program does not fund new construction, additions, work on non-historic additions, acquisitions, landscaping, fencing, site improvements, or other interior work.

Application Procedures
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year, although there is a waiting list for the program. An applicant will be placed on the waiting list at the time they income qualify for the program. All applicants are required to attend a pre-application meeting with city Historic Preservation Office staff. For funding consideration, all applicants must submit:

  • Income qaulifying documentation. This is the first step in the low income grant qualification process. The city’s Neighborhood Services Department (NSD) performs all income qualification evaluations for the LHHR Program. An applicant must complete the NSD application and submit the required supporting income documentation to the Historic Preservation Office;
  • A completed application form, including a detailed scope of work and budget, including at least two bids by licensed contractors for all work items, (applies only to property owners and non-profit agencies NOT working with the city of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department);
  • Architectural plans, elevations and/or specifications, as needed, to depict rehabilitation work, and photos of the property showing the building(s) and areas in need of repair or rehabilitation;
  • A description and evidence of funding sources to complete the project.

Historic Design Guidelines
All proposed projects must conform to the city of Phoenix General Design Guidelines for Historic Properties (PDF) and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as determined by the Historic Preservation Office.

Project Evaluation Criteria
The Historic Preservation Office staff is solely responsible for determining the eligibility of items included in a project’s Scope of Work, and for approving projects subject to funding limits approved by City Council. Applications will be approved provided that owner evidences that program timelines can be met; project budget is adequate; project has sufficient funding to be completed; owner meets all other program requirements; and project fully meets the city's General Design Guidelines for Historic Properties (PDF) and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as determined by the city’s Historic Preservation Office.

Additional Funding Conditions

  • If the property is currently owned by a 501(c)3, the organization must agree to sell or execute a long-term lease to a qualifying family or individual within six months of project completion. Qualifying families are those with incomes 80 percent or below the median, calculated in accordance with established U.S., Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines. For multi-family units, at least 51 percent of all current or proposed tenants must meet income requirements.
  • Applicant must provide evidence that sufficient funds are available to complete the project at the time of project application. The applicant must notify the city if funding circumstances change after application for funding is made.
  • Owner must agree to execute required legal agreements with the city as a condition of funding. These include a Program Agreement and Deed of Conservation Easement. The Program Agreement outlines how the work will be carried out and how the grant funds will be paid. The Conservation Easement describes the owner's obligations to maintain the exterior, as rehabilitated, and allows Historic Preservation office staff to review any future proposed exterior alterations on the property during the life of the Easement. The length of the Easement will be for 15 or 20 years, depending on the amount of public funds expended. A Consent Agreement must be signed by all lienholders on the property prior to entering into a Program Agreement.
  • Funds are only available for projects that have not commenced prior to the execution of all required agreements. An exception is made for eligible architectural/engineering studies.
  • The program will only pay for completed components of a project that the Historic Preservation Office certifies meets city historic preservation standards. No advance funding of work is allowed.
  • The owner must agree to execute a Conservation Easement based on the following levels of city participation: $10,000 or less - 15 years; $10,001 to $30,000 - 20 years.
  • Applicant is required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness or Certificate of No Effect from the city Historic Preservation Office prior to finalizing project agreements and initiating work.
  • The owners must sign all required agreements with the city within 90 days of project approval, subsequently commence work within 90 days after executing agreements and complete the project within one year after work begins or risk losing the funding.
  • The city will take no responsibility or assume any liability for an organization’s ability to buy or sell property contingent upon the receipt of Historic Preservation Bond Funds.
  • The city is not obligated to pay the property owner if the city determines that the project has not been completed in accordance with the city’s program guidelines and design standards.

Waiting List
The Historic Preservation Office has implemented a three tiered wait list case management system for all Low Income Historic Housing Rehabilitation (LHHR) projects.

The case management system groups LHHR projects into three categories: those in pre-development, those in development, and those that are active.

  • Pre-development projects involve potential projects where staff is in preliminary discussions with the property owner about the LHHR Program, verifying that a property is listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register, and accepting documents to verify that a property owner income qualifies for the program.
  • Projects in development are capped at six (6) projects and include projects that are not yet committed with signed legal agreements, but projects where staff is developing a scope of work; meeting and coordinating with the property owner, contractors and others involved in the project; accepting the LHHR grant application and bids for proposed grant funded work; conducting site visits; and obtaining consent agreements from any lienholders.
  • Active projects are limited to a total of five (5) projects and include projects that are committed with signed legal agreements where work is ready to begin or already underway.

An applicant’s position on the waiting list is based on the date that they are income qualified for the program. When an active project is completed, a project in development that has completed all the necessary steps to become active will move to the active list and a pre-development project will move to the development list. The typical wait from the time an application is placed on the pre-development waiting list until the time the project is moved to active status and work can begin is approximately 12-18 months.

Application Information

If you are interested in obtaining the complete application packet, which includes the application, program guide and preservation philosophy, call 602-261-8699 or download the packet items from here:

Other useful information on the Low-Income Historic Housing Rehabilitation Program also is available:

  • Preservation Philosophy
    Guiding principles on retaining, preserving and/or replacing architectural features/elements on a historic structure.
  • Low-Income Historic Housing Rehabilitation Program Agreement
    A legal agreement between the city of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and the property owner outlining how the work will be carried out and how the owner will be paid.
  • Deed of Conservation Easement
    A legal agreement between the city of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and the property owner on the obligations and requirements necessary for the grant.
  • Consent Agreement
    A legal document that must be signed and returned to the Historic Preservation Office by any lienholders before commencement of any work. The Consent Agreement provides the permission of any lienholders for the property owners to sign the Deed of Conservation Easement.
  • Technical Historic Preservation Bulletins
    Please see our Preservation Reports, Publications and Bulletins page for a list of bulletins that provide historic property owners with technical guidance and information on specific "how to" projects for historic buildings.