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Last updated: 3/6/18

Community Preservation

We use funds to support historic preservation, affordable housing, and parks and open space.

In November 2016, 74% of Boston voters approved the Community Preservation Act.

Starting in 2018, about $20 million will be available every year for:

  • affordable housing
  • parks and open space improvements (including outdoor recreation facilities), and
  • historic restoration.

Boston’s Community Preservation director, Christine Poff, will work with a volunteer Community Preservation Committee to build and manage the program. Nine Boston residents sit on the committee, which will help make project and funding decisions.

Have questions? Contact:

Christine Poff
Stay tuned!

We'll post a draft of the "Community Preservation Plan" outlining our goals and priorities in early 2018. The plan will include a place for your input.

Upcoming events


Applying for funds

Project interest form

Interested in applying for Community Preservation funds for your neighborhood project?

We created a simple, one page project interest form so you can let us know. There is no deadline for this form, but please submit so we know what projects Boston community members are hoping to have funded. We will  have full application details posted in early Spring 2018.

Project Interest Form

Is your project not fully developed?

We'd still like to know about it, and may be able to help you with your application, designs, or budget. Complete the project interest form, and we'll be in touch. If you can't answer a question on the project interest form yet, just let us know.

Not sure what's eligible for funds?

Check out the eligible funds chart. The fund only supports capital projects for affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space. The fund can’t be used for operations, maintenance, or programming.


You'll find funding guidelines and priorities outlined in the Community Preservation plan and application. Check back often, they'll go up soon. In this first year, we'll want to support small and large projects that are visible to community members and are "shovel-ready," or won't take long to implement. 

What is Community Preservation?


The Massachusetts legislature passed the Community Preservation Act in 2000. The law gave individual cities and towns a chance to mount a ballot campaign to add a surcharge on real estate taxes. The money raised supports three program areas for local communities:

  • historic preservation
  • affordable housing, and
  • parks and open space, including outdoor recreation facilities.
State trust fund

A statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund gives cities and towns that passed the act a “match.” Real estate transfer fees from across the state provide money for the Trust Fund. When a property changes hands anywhere in Massachusetts, a $20 fee is rolled into the closing costs.

Boston joins

Many cities and towns passed the Community Preservation Act soon after the law was enacted. They've received millions for affordable housing, preservation, and parks and conservation land. Boston is now among the other 171 communities that have passed the act. We'll start reaping the benefits in 2018.

How the act will work in Boston


The City hired Christine Poff, the program’s director, in the summer of 2017. She’s begun the work of building Boston's Community Preservation Act program. Her team may grow as the project review process gets underway.

Community Preservation Committee

The Mayor and the City Council will appoint a nine-member, decision-making committee. By law, the Mayor picks five members from City commissions and agencies. The City Council chooses four at-large members from the general public.

All members must be Boston residents for the duration of their three-year term. Members may serve for a maximum of two terms.

Funding Cycles

We will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for small and large projects in 2018, and every year after that. Groups who can apply for funding of capital projects include:

  • community organizations
  • housing developers
  • park friends groups
  • historical societies, and
  • City agencies.

Start thinking about how these funds could help your neighborhood! We can connect you with community organizations and resources for help developing a proposal. Check this website starting in March 2018 for application and instruction links.

What funds can be used on

All projects must be capital projects involving building or restoration. These funds can’t be used for maintenance or programming. You can view a chart of allowable uses for Community Preservation funds.


We’ll work to be as transparent as possible in our work. We plan to update this webpage regularly. Our meetings will be open to the public. We’ll also offer technical support to project applicants, where needed. This is YOUR program, Boston!

Community Preservation Committee

The committee is made up of nine Boston residents. They make decisions about our funding priorities. Members meet monthly — or more often — as needed. The committee’s responsibilities include:

VOTING on an annual administrative budget. Five percent of funds may be spent on staff and expenses for the committee and program. Administration funds may also go towards planning, for example:

  • a design for an affordable housing site
  • a survey of a neighborhood’s historic sites, or
  • a park renovation plan.

The City must spend at least 10 percent in each of the three program areas.

DEVELOPING an annual Community Preservation Plan with several possible features, including:

  • needs assessment
  • principles and goals
  • guidelines and requirements for projects, and
  • priority project areas.

REVIEWING projects to recommend to the Mayor and City Council for final approval.

Experts from the City of Boston will help the committee review projects. City staff that will help evaluate applications include:

During Mayor Walsh’s first term, ambitious planning took place. The Housing Plan, the Open Space Plan, the Climate Action Plan, and others will inform the Community Preservation Plan.


Committee members

Thanks to everyone who applied to serve as an at-large member on Boston's first Community Preservation Committee (CPC). The 113 applicants represented nearly every neighborhood and the diversity of our City.

The City Council voted to approve the final four community members who will serve on December 13, 2017. City law requires:

  • one to be from the business community
  • one with expertise in one or more of the three areas, and
  • two with civic engagement experience.
Members include:
  • At-large business representative: Matt Kiefer (Jamaica Plain)
  • At-large expertise representative in housing: Madeligne Tena (Dorchester)
  • At-large civic engagement: Kannan Thiruvengadam (East Boston)
  • At-large civic engagement: Ying Wang (Roslindale)

State law requires that five members be from Boston's boards, commissions, and authorities. These mayoral recommendations will be voted on by their respective bodies in January. They represent:

  • Boston Housing Authority
  • Boston Planning & Development Agency (formerly BRA), and
  • Boston Parks, Conservation, and Landmarks Commissions.