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How To Apply For Community Preservation Funds

Last updated:

We use funds to support historic preservation, affordable housing, open space and recreation. Click on your project category to see the application steps and access application materials.

Step
1

Review affordable housing information

The Mayor's Office of Housing will help identify the most suitable projects for CPA funding. You should plan to respond to the Mayor's Office of Housing (MOH) and the Community Preservation Act Office's joint request for proposal (RFP) for affordable housing projects. This RFP is usually released in August every year. To apply for funds, affordable housing applicants must:

  • Respond and complete the request for proposal (RFP) released by the Mayor's Office of Housing and the Community Preservation Act Office (The RFP will state: RENTAL, COOPERATIVE AND HOME OWNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FUNDING)
  • Work with a project manager on the Mayor's Office of Housing Development team

Please contact Christine O’Keefe, Acting Assistant Director for Development and Finance by email at christine.okeefe@boston.gov to discuss your potential housing project. You can also contact MOH to work with a Project Manager in the Neighborhood Housing Department at 617-635-3880

Please reach out if you need any assistance or have questions. CPA staff contact information can be found on our homepage.


Nonprofit and for-profit developers are eligible for affordable housing funds to increase the number of affordable units and deepen affordability in new construction projects.

  • Renovation of existing affordable housing is NOT allowed. 
  • Preservation of affordability is allowed. Funds support Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program. This program helps responsible developers buy rental housing to remove it from the speculative market and keep tenants in their homes.
Please keep in mind:
  • The affordable housing awards usually amount to $1,000,000 or more. Together with your Mayor's Office of Housing project manager, you will determine what’s needed to bring your project to life.
  • Funded housing projects must serve residents who are at or below 100 percent of the Area Median Income.
  • Are you a first-time homebuyer? Depending on your income, you may qualify for mortgage or down payment help through Boston’s Home Center. You can call the Boston Home Center at 617-635-4663
Step
2

Respond to Request For Proposal

Please respond to the Mayor's Office of Housing (MOH) and the Community Preservation Act Office's joint request for proposal (RFP) for affordable housing projects.  To request funds, affordable housing applicants must:

  • Respond and complete the request for proposal (RFP) released by the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Preservation Act Office. (The RFP will state: RENTAL, COOPERATIVE AND HOME OWNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FUNDING)

You will need to submit a Letter of Intent. We will ask for some information:

  • the name and address of the proposed project
  • the total unit count of the project and the number of affordable units in the proposal
  • whether or not the subject real estate has been occupied by residential or non-residential occupants during the past six months
  • contact information for the applicant
  • the approximate amount of funding you will apply for, and
  • the funding sources that have been identified.

Please contact Christine O’Keefe, Acting Assistant Director for Development and Finance, by email at christine.okeefe@boston.gov to discuss your potential housing project. You can also contact MOH to work with a Project Manager in the Neighborhood Housing Department at 617-635-3880.

Step
3

Complete a request for proposal

Applicants must follow all instructions in the Mayor's Office of Housing's Request for Proposal. Your application will be due in late September. If awarded, Developers will work closely with the Mayor's Office of Housing to move to a loan closing.

Step
1

Learn about historic preservation projects

Boston will be 400 years old in 2030! Over the next decade, we hope funds will help restore neighborhood resources and historic features for the City’s anniversary.

 

Projects for historic preservation must have: 

  • local significance

  • focus on exterior or structural needs, and

  • provide public access or benefits.

In order for a historic preservation project to be eligible for funding it must be considered “locally significant”. This can be determined in two ways:

  1. The historic resource is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. This includes being located in a historic district.
  2.  If not listed on the State Register, CPA Staff will work with the Boston Landmarks Commission to confirm the local significance of the resource. 

When preparing your final application, it’s helpful to include solid costs from an experienced preservation architect or contractor.

Step
2

Check if your project is on the MA State Register of Historic Places

If your project is not on the Register, Community Preservation staff will work with the Boston Landmarks Commission to establish its local significance. Learn more about your historic resource by researching it on the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS) Map.

CPA staff can also assist you in confirming your project’s historic local significance. Please reach out if you are unsure or need assistance. Staff contact information is on our homepage.

Step
3

Submit an Eligibility Form

Please complete our online eligibility determination form to ensure your project is eligible under the state Community Preservation law. 

2025 Eligibility Determination Form

We will be in touch to confirm your eligibility to help you prepare to complete the full application.

Step
4

Complete your application

The Community Preservation Act application is a Google form. You will not be able to save and come back to the application.

We encourage you to please complete the CPA Application Packet first as a worksheet to prepare your responses, then copy and paste your answers into the Google application form. This document also lists the required documents you will need to upload. 

Your application will include the Community Preservation Act Budget Form for a detailed project budget with revenue sources and expenses. Please download the budget form, give it a new name, and save it to your hard drive before you complete it. 

Community Preservation Act 2025 Application:

Please do not complete the 2025 application for Historic Preservation unless you have:

  • completed an eligibility determination form, and
  • received an invitation from the City's Community Preservation staff notifying your neighborhood group or organization that your project is eligible for funding under the state Community Preservation Act.

To be considered for our 2025 funding round, you must have submitted your eligibility determination form by August 30, 2024

Candidates deemed eligible by the Community Preservation Office will be invited to submit an application for their proposed projects.

The deadline to submit the 2025 CPA application is November 6, 2024, at 5 p.m.  The application will be released in October 2024.

Complete the FY2025 eLIGIBILITY FORM 

The application for our 2026 funding round will be released in the fall of 2025. For more information, please contact our staff.

Step
1

Learn about open space and recreation projects

Community Preservation funds may support public parks and fields, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, community gardens, and much more. With these funds, you can:

  • buy land for permanent open space
  • create a new park or garden
  • renovate existing outdoor spaces
  • add park features
  • build playgrounds
  • repave paths, and
  • plant trees.

Funds can’t be used for artificial turf on athletic fields. Streetscapes are not allowed  only spaces that can be preserved as parkland. Public art also cannot be added to parks through Community Preservation funds.

Step
2

Get required authorization for projects on public land

Please contact the public agency that owns or manages the open space or recreational site. You will need a formal letter of authorization from this Public Agency to submit with your eligibility form. You will need this for the:

  • Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD)
  • Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • Boston Public Schools (BPS)
  • Boston Public Library (BPL)
  • Boston Mayor's Office of Housing (MOH)
  • Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)
  • Boston Public Works Department (PWD), Boston Transportation Department (BTD), or Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and
  • any other federal, state, or City property.

Don’t know if the land is owned or managed by a public agency? Reach out and we'll help you find the owner. 

Please note:

It is critical to have a letter of authorization and to have the full support of the property owner. The public agency involved will work with you if the project fits their goals and they have the staff to manage the work. If awarded, funds will go to the public agency who will oversee the project, with community involvement. Funds used on public land must follow City laws and regulations.

City / State Agency Authorization Letter

Step
3

Submit an eligibility form

Please complete our online eligibility determination form to ensure your project is eligible under the state Community Preservation law. These can be submitted at any time throughout the year. We'd like to start working with you to bring an improvement to your neighborhood!

2025 Eligibility Determination Form

We will be in touch to confirm your eligibility and get you ready for the full application.

Step
4

Complete your application

The Community Preservation Act application is a Google Form. You will not be able to save and come back to the application. 

We encourage you to please complete the CPA Application Packet first as a worksheet to prepare your responses, then copy and paste your answers into the Google application form. This document also lists the required documents you will need to upload.  

Your application will include the Community Preservation Act Budget Form for a detailed project budget with revenue sources and expenses. Please download the budget form, give it a new name, and save it to your hard drive before you complete it. 

Community Preservation Act 2025 Application:

Please do not complete the 2025 application for Open Space and Recreation unless you have:

  • completed an eligibility determination form, and
  • received an invitation from the City's Community Preservation staff notifying your neighborhood group or organization that your project is eligible for funding under the state Community Preservation Act. 

To be considered for our 2024 funding round, you must have submitted your eligibility determination form by August 30, 2024.

Candidates deemed eligible by the Community Preservation Office will be invited to submit an application for their proposed projects.

The deadline to submit the 2025 CPA application is November 6, 2024, at 5 p.m.  The application will be released in October 2024.

Complete the fy2025 ELIGIBILITY FORM

The application for our 2026 funding round will be released in the fall of 2025. For more information, please contact our staff.

If you are funded

GRANT AGREEMENTs

If you are awarded funds, you will have to complete a Community Preservation Grant Agreement. This is a contract with the City of Boston. The City's Law Department will craft language that reflects your work and anticipated outcome. You will work closely with our staff before signing the Community Preservation Grant Agreement.

You can preview our Grant Agreement template.

CITY OF BOSTON CONTRACT FORM

You will also need to complete a CM-06: Certificate of Authority Form. This form allows your organization's Board of Directors to name an authorized individual to sign a grant agreement entering into a contract with the City of Boston. Our Contracts Administrator will work closely with you on all the required documents.

RECEIVING FUNDS and COMMUNITY PRESERVATION REPORTING

To access your initial Community Preservation Act disbursement:

  1. Submit an invoice for the first third of your grant amount. 
  2. Submit a Pre-Construction report form noting any changes to your plans.
  3. Complete a budget report with any budget updates or changes.

For your second installment, you will need to submit your mid-construction report and budget. You will also need to provide detailed documents outlining how you spent your first disbursement. This can be:

  • an invoice from a contractor
  • a canceled check showing payment for equipment or services
  • a detailed credit card statement with Community Preservation charges highlighted, and
  • a report from your accounting system. 

Your last check of 10 percent may be requested after the project is complete.

Monitoring and reporting Forms:

Monitoring and reporting forms and updated budgets will be required at three stages of your project. You will need to complete and submit a:

  • pre-construction report
  • mid-construction report, and
  • final reports.

At each of these stages, you will also need to submit a budget form, similar to the form you submitted with your application.

Certificate of Completion

Your project liaison will call and visit your site to review your progress. We will also do a final site visit to inspect your project and complete your Certificate of Completion.

We'd love to see photos and encourage you to invite us to any events that celebrate your project!

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