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Grants for Owners of Historic Properties

Was your historic property damaged during Hurricane Sandy? Is it located in one of the eighteen counties which received a Hurricane Sandy disaster declaration (PDF)? If so, you may be eligible for a grant to reimburse you for the cost of that damage. In the bill authorizing funds for recovery from Hurricane Sandy, Congress allocated funds specifically for projects related to historic properties including archaeological sites. Only documentable hurricane-related damage is eligible for grant assistance.

Program Purpose

The purpose of this funding is to provide technical assistance and emergency repairs to historic and archaeological resources impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Only hurricane-related damage is eligible for grant assistance.


The process for applying for funding is two parts:

  1. Letter of Interest / Pre-application Package
  2. Official Grant Application

If the Part 1 Letter of Interest and required attachments prove to meet the program requirements defined below, property owners will be invited to submit a formal grant application.

Program Overview

On behalf of the National Park Service, funding is available to individuals and nonprofit organizations for the rehabilitation of historic properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Funding may also be available to local governments at the discretion of the PHMC. Historic properties are defined as those either listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Properties that contribute to a National Register listed or eligible historic district are also eligible. Owners of historic properties may apply for grants if the properties are confirmed by the staff of the PHMC as meeting the following requirements:

The damage must be shown to be the result of Hurricane Sandy. These grants may not be used to address damage or deterioration that existed prior to the storm. Acquisition of real property is not an eligible cost for assistance. The following are examples of eligible expenses:

  • Repairing or replacing roofing damaged by high winds
  • Roof or structural repairs caused by fallen trees or limbs
  • Repairs to masonry foundations, retaining walls, or interior finishes damaged by heavy rains or flooding during Hurricane Sandy
  • Archaeological site stabilization
  • The restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, preservation or protection of a documented historic landscape

Program Requirements

The property must be listed in, or eligible for listing in, the National Register of Historic Places. To determine if your property has been evaluated for the National Register, please consult the PHMC's Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. If you have any questions about your property's National Register status, please contact your region's National Register Coordinator.

  • For individual properties that are not already listed in the National Register, the PHMC will need to confirm that your building:
    • Is over 50 years old
    • Is historically or architecturally significant
    • Retains its architectural integrity and historic appearance
  • The PHMC may request that a Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form be completed to determine the property's National Register eligibility.
  • For properties in a National Register listed or eligible historic district, the building must "contribute to" the significance of the surrounding district.

Project related expenses are reimbursable. The PHMC can only reimburse owners for those repair expenses that were not covered by the owner's property or flood insurance. Work that was paid for with money from your insurance company is not eligible for reimbursement. Owners may apply for any difference between the actual cost of the completed work and the insurance settlement.

  • This is a reimbursement grant grantees are paid upon the completion of an eligible project.
  • The applicant must have the full funding for the project available and restricted for the purposes of this project as of the date of the application. If an applicant would like to request a phased project, the applicant must have full funding for the first phase of the project.
  • PHMC may reimburse applicants for projects that have been completed or where a contract has been signed with a contractor prior to December 1, 2013.
  • For all new projects, the applicants must have the funding for the project available and restricted for the purposes of the project by the date of application. If an applicant would like to request a phased project, the applicant must have full funding for the first phase of the project.
  • All plans and specifications must be reviewed and approved by the SHPO prior to work commencing - the development of plans and specifications are an eligible cost under this grant.

The completed (or proposed) repairs must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (PDF).

  • All projects must be documented with photographs showing the building/property before and after the project.
  • Projects that have already started or been completed will be evaluated based on those photos and on contractor cost estimates or invoices.
  • Repairs that have not yet begun or that are underway need to be described in detail and approved by the PHMC staff before the work may begin or continue. The completed project must then be approved before the final reimbursement can be made.

Grant awards range from $5,000 - $50,000. The PHMC has the discretion to award a grant higher than $50,000 on a case-by-case basis. The National Park Service reveiw is required for all applications requesting funds in excess of $25,000.

Additional program details may be found in the Grant Program Guidelines & Requirements.

Submission Requirements Part 1

Owners must submit a letter of interest to the address below describing the property, the damage, and outlining the needed repairs. The following attachments must be submitted with the letter:

  • A street map showing the property's location
  • Photographs of the property before the storm (if any), in electronic format on CD (.jpg 300 dpi or greater)
  • Photographs of the damage that occurred during the storm, in electronic format on CD (.jpg 300 dpi or greater)
  • Photographs showing any work that has already been completed, in electronic format on CD (.jpg 300 dpi or greater)
  • Receipts documenting any work completed
  • Documentation of the property s National Register status, if known. (Owners are welcome to submit a letter of interest even if the property's National Register status is unknown or has never been designated.)
  • Information on any property insurance claims and settlements related to the storm damage
  • Any additional documentation that may be helpful to show the extent of the damage

The PHMC staff will contact applicants within 30 days to notify them of the status of the pre-application request. At that time, we may:

  • ask for more information on the property
  • arrange a date to inspect the property and/or the completed project
  • ask for more details on the proposed or completed work
  • request additional documentation related to the owner's insurance policy or reports from the company's adjustor or inspector
  • invite the property owner to complete an official grant application; a separate deadline to submit grant applications will be set in the fall of 2014

Please submit letters of interest with all applicable attachments to:

Bryan Van Sweden
PHMC | Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office
Commonwealth Keystone Building, 2nd Floor
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120


Complete Part 1 submissions will be accepted during two periods in 2014:

  1. May 1 May 30
  2. September 2 October 10

At its discretion, the PHMC may accept letters of interest and other required pre-application materials from interested property owners beyond the final pre-application submission period ending October 10, 2014.


E-mail Bryan Van Sweden, or call (717) 772-5071, for more information.

Other Conditions

  • All grant recipients will be required to complete a grant application and will be required to enter into a grant agreement with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Awards will be based on funding availability.
  • Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief grants will be competitive and scored according to a pre-determined set of criteria. These criteria are provided in the Grant Program Guidelines & Requirements on page 4.
  • Religious institutions may participate in the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Grant Program consistent with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 101(e)(4)(16 U.S.C. sect;470 (e)(4)), which authorizes certain grants for religious properties in the National Register of Historic Places. Religious properties listed in the National Register are eligible to participate in this grant assistance program because the federal government has a strong interest in preserving all sites of historic significance regardless of their religious or secular character; because eligibility for this program extends to a broad class of beneficiaries defined without reference to religion; and because the criteria for funding is applied neutrally. These elements show that this grant program is aimed solely at preserving historic structures and does not constitute an endorsement of religion by the government.
  • For new projects that involve the rehabilitation of a property or any design work, plans and specifications are required to be completed by a Historical Architect that meets the Secretary of the Interior's Professional Qualifications Standards under 36 CFR Part 61.
  • All grantees must agree to assume, after completion of the project, the total cost of continued maintenance, repair and administration of the grant-assisted property in a manner satisfactory to the Secretary of the Interior. Accordingly, the owners of properties receiving grant assistance must sign a Preservation Covenant recorded on the property deed with the State Historic Preservation Officer. The term of the covenant is dependent on the grant funding levels, as follows:
    • Up to $50,000: a five-year covenant
    • $50,001 up to $99,999: a ten-year covenant
    • $100,000 and above: a twenty-year covenant
  • View this grant program's Historic Preservation Covenant.
  • Each grantee must erect a project sign at the project site and be maintained in place throughout the project term. The sign must identify the project, the historic significance of the property, and the support provided by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior and the PHMC. The cost of fabricating and erecting the sign is an eligible cost under this grant program.
  • Historic properties not already listed in the National Register of Historic Places will be nominated. Private property owners must consent to having their property listed in the National Register.
  • Federally owned properties are not eligible for assistance from this grant (see Chapter 13, Part D.14 of the Historic Preservation Fund Grants Manual).