HOUSTON – Judge Lina Hidalgo held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce a proposal for a new $30 million relief fund to support micro and small businesses recovering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hidalgo said the small business recovery fund would use money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is to be administered by LiftFund, a nonprofit community development financial institution.
“Running a small business is a huge challenge, even during the good times,” Hidalgo said. “The personal sacrifices that small business owners make day in and day out for their community are huge and we owe it to them to support them as we make it through the COVID-19 crisis and the associated economic challenges.”
Hidalgo stressed that businesses, especially those owned by minorities and women, are in need of support during this time.
Watch Tuesday’s press conference below:
According to Hidalgo, the money will be given based on a transparent scoring system and will prioritize businesses in areas that are underprivileged and/or have been hit hard during the pandemic.
If approved, business owners can apply for the fund starting Sept. 20. Hidalgo said business owners must have a personal income that is less than 80% of the average income, in addition to other factors that will affect the selection process.
Grants will come in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
LiftFund helps small business owners access the money and resources they need to grow their business. The organization services diverse, minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned businesses. LiftFund also provides loan solutions that include SBA micro-loans, SBA 504 Loans and the SBA Community Advantage.