Editor’s Note: This webinar was the first in a series presented by Preservation Leadership Forum in response to the coronavirus crisis. To learn more about future webinars, visit our Forum Webinar page and sign up for updates. The next webinar, "Communicating and Fundraising for Preservation During Uncertain Times" will take place April 14.
Update 4/15/2020: One additional area of discussion during the webinar was the inclusion of a limited exemption to applicability of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for the General Services Administration’s undertakings to address the coronavirus. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has maintained a longstanding policy against legislative exemptions from Section 106, because its implementing regulations (36 C.F.R. Part 800), provide a variety of tools to adapt the process to the needs of agency programs. The ACHP maintains a webpage with regular coronavirus updates at www.achp.gov/coronavirus.
On Thursday, April 2, Preservation Leadership Forum hosted the webinar “Federal Policy Response to the Coronavirus and Implications for Preservation Field.” This webinar broke down the recent funding packages recently passed by Congress and parsed out what these packages mean for the preservation field. Speakers also took a look at the status of existing preservation legislation and provided updates on what we might advocate for in future stimulus packages.
You can watch the recording, and download the handouts and powerpoint here. One thing to note is that this situation is rapidly developing, and it is important to check the official Department of Treasury guidance page for up to date information regarding the CARES Act.
This post also includes responses to some of the questions left unanswered at the end of the webinar. These responses are our best answers right now, but as mentioned above it is critical that you check official government channels for up to date guidance and information.
Small Business Loan Provisions
Several questions were asked about the small business loans provisions. As noted on the webinar recording, the agency guidance and legislative analysis has and is evolving. For example, we received a question during the webinar about the interest rate on the small business loans, which at the time was .5% (or half a percent). That interest rate is now 1.00%.
To ensure you have accurate information in response to your questions, we encourage you to visit the relevant government websites for the most current information about this and other programs. In particular, the U.S. Department of the Treasury guidance page has information for small businesses, including fact sheets and applications.
The material on this webinar has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors for guidance on these matters.
During the webinar, the speakers discussed the characterization of many of the provisions included in the CARES Act, including an interest by federal lawmakers in actions that are “stimulative” in nature.
The preservation community has an opportunity to make the case that historic preservation and many of the policies we support have a positive impact on the economy. The National Trust is working with partners to develop additional proposals to use preservation programs to catalyze and stimulate economic activity. We expect to have several proposals developed this week.
In answer to your questions about related resources, here are some talking points and reference material:
- Communities: A report by Place Economics outlines 24 reasons historic preservation is good for your community. For example, “Since 1980, Main Street districts in more than 2000 communities have seen cumulative investment of $79 billion, 285,000 buildings rehabilitated, more than 640,000 net new jobs, and nearly 144,000 net new b” (link: to attached Place Economics report)
- National Parks: According to the National Park Service, in 2018 “visitors to national parks spent an estimated $20.2 billion in local gateway regions. The contribution of this spending to the national economy was 329,000 jobs, $13.6 billion in labor income, $23.4 billion in value added, and $40.1 billion in economic output.”
Several of you asked about the eligibility of public or faith-based organizations for components of the CARES Act. The requirements may be different for the various grant or loan programs that we mentioned on the webinar. Here are some places for you to explore that eligibility:
We had follow-up questions on the charitable giving provisions included in the CARES Act, and for more information on these and other provisions of interest to the nonprofit sector, please see the National Council on Nonprofits CARES Act fact sheet.
Last but not least, a question was raised about tax credits being extended to municipally owned properties and whether that was an option for discussion. To help communities recover as quickly as possible, Congress has looked to existing programs and authorities to distribute stimulus funding as efficiently as possible. While support for incorporating long-standing priorities included in the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (S.2615 / H.R.2825 ) appears promising, receptivity to new ideas, like allowing municipalities to receive and sell historic tax credits, will be difficult to advance in the near term.