Last week the National Trust released Preserving African American Places: Growing Preservation's Potential as a Path for Equity, a report that has been a long time coming. Many of you may have heard us present earlier iterations at PastForward in San Francisco and Denver, and we're pleased to be able to share with you the results of those conversations.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm Di Gao, the senior director of research and development, and I was one of many people at the National Trust leading the charge on this report over the last year. I recently answered a series of questions from your community manager, Priya Chhaya, about the report.
While you can learn more about the project and what's next in that story, we wanted to make space for dialogue and hear your ideas, responses, and reactions right away.
There have been a wide range of conversations about preservation and social justice, which have accelerated over the past few months, with many more in our future. To build off this momentum, and kick off the conversation here, I'd like to start with this question:
Up front costs are often more expensive for older homes, but long term costs can be considerably less. The City of Fort Collins put together a cost calculator that helps residents determine whether it makes more sense to replace older windows with ones warrantied for 20-years, or pay more up front to restore older windows that will last another 50-years before needing any more significant work to take them another 50 or 100 years.
Thanks for your response, Living At Home. I agree, having a cost calculator tool is more effective when paired with other programs. The City of Fort Collins also has a Zero Interest Loan program that was developed especially with this type of scenario in mind -- especially for those living on a fixed income. Home owners can get up to $7500 a year (that can be used on top of any State or Federal tax credits that are available for the project) interest free. They have to match that amount and the loan has to be paid back up on the sale of the property. (Which, for seniors who are hoping to age in place, can mean that the loan isn't paid back until the property has passed on to their heirs.) This zero interest loan can be used every year, so many property owners plan their projects accordingly, aiming to accomplish $15,000 worth of work a year.
Of course, even $7,500 can be too much for some people to spare. But if there's a scenario where they were going to spend $15,000 on new vinyl windows, they might be willing to instead spend $7,500 one year to have their older wooden windows refurbished and then the following year spend another $7,500 to have some more refurbished.
And, again, if a person can take advantage of 20-25% dollar-for-dollar income tax credits from the State at the same time, they'd be spending $3000 less than that a year. So for $2,500 you could get $15,000 worth of work, if I'm doing the math correctly. If the windows (doors, siding, etc.) needs to be done anyway, getting this much financial help can really make a difference between going with the "cheap" alternative vs. being willing to rehabilitate something that could last for decades.
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