In a unanimous vote Wednesday morning, Houston City Council passed a $15 million small business economic relief program. The money from the CARES Act will fund it.
City officials said it will help small businesses most in financial need that show a moderate to high likelihood of surviving the pandemic's negative impacts.
The city is also encouraging local chambers of commerce to apply. Those chambers or businesses can get up to $50,000.
That money can cover things like rent, payroll, PPE, and marketing.
They also have to meet several requirements like:
- Being in businesses for at least a year
- Generating $2 million or less in gross annual revenue pre-COVID-19
- Proving how COVID-19 led to a big drop in business earnings
“Although, you know, $15 million seems like a lot, I hope that we can really drill down and make sure that the small businesses that need these funds will gain access to these funds," Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex-Tatum said.
Houston Business Development, Inc. will use $1.5 million of those funds to run the program.
The city expects that nonprofit will start accepting applications within the next two weeks once they iron out details.
Mayor Sylvester Turner told council it will not be first-come, first-serve.