In a unanimous vote, 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 strategies.
To qualify for the program, businesses have to meet the following requirements:
- Must be a business whose principal place of business is located within city limits of the City of Houston.
- Must have been in business for at least one (1) year as of March 1, 2020.
- Must provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
- A business qualifies if it generated $2 million or less in gross annual revenue pre-COVID-19.
- Must be in good standing regarding City requirements (e.g. property taxes, personal property, grounds for debarment, etc).
- Must commit to completing the Recovery and Resiliency component of this program provided via HBDi.
In addition to these requirements, a weighted scoring matrix will be used to ensure the equitable distribution of grant funds.
Applications will be prioritized based on several factors:
- employee makeup
- access to capital challenges
- years in business
- demonstrated resiliency
“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.
The application process will start on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 8 a.m. The application deadline is Sept. 4.
If approved for the grant, businesses will receive funds in two phases. The first half of the funds will be awarded upon grant approval. The second half will be given after completion of the Recovery and Resiliency component of the program.
For more information on how to apply, click here.