Some good news to close out the year.
If there’s anyone or anything that needs a break, it’s small businesses. As the year as endured so too has hundreds of small businesses heartbreakingly fold under the financial restraint caused by the pandemic. Of those that survived, many were completely dependent on loans provided by government agencies. And while the loans were to be forgiven in a window of 5 years, Harris County and Galveston Area Council (HGAC) have opted to transform the loans into grants.
Earlier this year, 444 small businesses in 13 counties across the Houston area were provided interest-free loans up to $25,000 through the Harris County COVID-19 Forgivable Loan Program. Small businesses, according to the program’s writing, were defined as businesses with a “tangible net worth of not more than $15 million and an average net income of $5 million or less after federal income taxes.” A total of $10 million was distributed between the business.
Initially, the program wrote in a 5-year period for the businesses to repay their loans on a monthly basis. After 5 years, the loans would be would be forgiven granted the businesses kept up with their monthly payments.
Now, however, those loans have instead been transformed into grants via funding from the federal CARES Act.
“Many of the owners have already made use of the funds they received. Knowing that they don’t have to pay it back, that it’s all theirs, gives them one less thing to worry about at a time when so many have been impacted,” said manager of the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC), Omar Fortune.
“We’re pleased to be able to provide this gift to these small businesses that are so important to our region. That it’s happening during the holiday season makes it even more special.”