Advocacy Resource Center

Advocacy Resource Center

At any given moment, preservationists need to serve as advocates for a variety of issues. These resources—from tools to talking points—can equip preservation leaders to make a strong case both on the Hill and at home. The broad range of available resources addresses a variety of national- and local-level issues.

Advocate for Preservation

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and learn about the latest ways you can support historic preservation, including supporting America's National Treasures. 

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Key Opportunity to Strengthen the Federal Historic Tax Credit

As Congress considers its ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to stimulate economic activity, legislators must hear from the preservation community that the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is a proven economic recovery tool that should be strengthened and incorporated into legislation designed to revitalize our nation’s struggling communities.

On July 1, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a $1.5 trillion proposal designed to rebuild and invest in our nation’s infrastructure, passed the House 322-188 largely along party lines. The proposal incorporates community development provisions that support infrastructure financing, including several provisions that strengthen the HTC. If enacted, H.R. 2 would bolster community revitalization and job creation efforts, better promote affordable housing in historic buildings, and create long overdue efficiencies to the program. 

Extending the HTC During Coronavirus

On July 30, the IRS provided important relief for historic tax credit projects that are underway but facing significant delays because of Covid-19. Specifically, the IRS extended the deadline for certain rehabilitation projects to satisfy the substantial rehabilitation test when claiming historic tax credits (HTC). Under normal circumstances, a building is treated as substantially rehabilitated and eligible for the HTC only if qualified rehabilitation expenses are incurred over a 24-month period, or 60-month measuring period for phased projects, and that those expenses exceed the adjusted basis of the building or $5,000, whichever is greater. The IRS notice extends the 24 and 60 month measuring periods to satisfy the substantial rehabilitation test for qualifying projects.

Summary of the CARES Act and More

On Friday March 27 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act by voice vote (it passed the Senate on March 25). The National Trust Government Relations team and others have pulled together a summary of the act and its implications for historic preservation. Read the story and then register for the Preservation Leadership Forum webinar on this legislation and future advocacy on April 2, 2020 at 3pm. 

Defending the National Environmental Policy Act

In response the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a coalition of partners filed a lawsuit challenging new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations issued earlier this month.  

HUD and Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing

In response to a request for information (RFI), the National Trust offered comments to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing, regarding Federal, State, local and Tribal laws, regulations, and administrative practices that raise the costs of affordable housing and contribute to shortages in housing supply. Executive Order 13878 establishing the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing states that historic preservation requirements are a regulatory barrier to the development of affordable housing.

Read Key Messages and Full National Trust Comments

Deferred Maintenance at NPS

The National Park System tells the story of remarkable people and events in our nation’s rich history at sites across the United States. Unfortunately, inconsistent public funding has resulted in an infrastructure repair backlog estimated to be about $12 billion dollars, and many of the National Park Service’s most significant historic sites are at risk of falling into disrepair.  Join us in asking your Representative to cosponsor and support the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225)—bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) that will help address this backlog.

State Historic Tax Credits

 Thirty-four states currently offer credits against state taxes to provide incentives for the appropriate rehabilitation of historic buildings. Since many historic rehabilitation projects are viable only with the financial leverage of both the federal credit and a state credit, states that have state-level historic rehabilitation tax credits typically see a greater level of historic rehabilitation activity.

The Great American Outdoors Act

The Great American Outdoors Act is Now Law

During the week of June 14, the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that will provide the greatest investment in historic and cultural resources on our public lands in more than a generation. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which passed with bipartisan support by of vote of 73-25 on June 17, will invest up to $9.5 billion to repair historic and other assets of the National Park Service (NPS) and other federal agencies. It will also fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually to help our public lands continue to grow to tell fuller American stories and provide greater access to our shared cultural heritage. The bill passed the House on July 22 with a strong bipartisan vote of 310-107. 

Appropriations Resources 

The annual federal appropriations process has big impacts on historic preservation work nationwide. Learn more about the National Trust’s appropriations work and how you can advocate for key federal programs that help steward and protect historic places in every state and congressional district.

Support the Antiquities Act 

Since 1906, the Antiquities Act has enabled 16 presidents from both parties to swiftly protect historic sites and culturally important lands, ranging from the Statue of Liberty, to the Grand Canyon, to sites associated with Cesar Chavez. Now it is under threat on Capitol Hill. Join us in calling on Congress to support this vitally important preservation tool.

Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity Act

The historic tax credit (HTC) has a proven track record of kickstarting job creation and attracting private investment, while preserving tangible links to our past.

But with some strategic improvements, this vital program can do even more—specifically for smaller projects typically located in Main Streets and more rural areas.  Ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor the HTC-GO Act.

Update: In October 2019 members of the Senate have just introduced legislation that will enhance the value of the federal HTC and help ensure that historic rehabilitation continues unabated after changes were made to the program in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  

Lobbying for Preservation

Lobbying for Preservation (or Lobbying 101) is designed to acquaint you with the lobbying techniques, and resources available to aid in advocacy. While it focuses on the federal level, its information and recommendations can also be applied to state and local advocacy for historic preservation.

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