The City of Houston announced Monday that applications for its Small Business Economic Relief Program (SBERP) will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday as the city and its residents try to weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About $15 million of the city’s federal CARES Act funds have been set aside for the program, according to the city. Impacted small businesses and chambers of commerce will be able to apply for the short-term grant assistance at cityofhouston-sberp.org until 11:59 p.m. Sept. 4.
The city said qualifying businesses can receive a maximum of $50,000 under the program and must use funds for payroll, accounts payable, rent, mortgage, personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees and marketing strategies.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said distribution will be determined based on which businesses and chambers of commerce are deemed the most vulnerable, and not on a first-come, first-served basis. To qualify for the program, business owners must meet the following requirements:
– Must be a business in the city in operation for at least one year as of March 1.
– Provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
– 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, etc.) and commit to completing the Recovery and Resiliency component of the program.
“Small businesses that are in most financial need and exhibit a moderate to high likelihood of surviving the pandemic’s adverse impacts will receive the most consideration for grant funds,” Turner said in a news release. “I highly encourage you to take your time to complete your application fully and carefully before the Sept. 4 deadline.”