$ 2.2 million in micro-loans to help businesses in West Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Eleven Louisville neighborhoods are set to receive more than $ 2 million in COVID assistance. The money, funded by a block federal grant, will be used to help small businesses recover from the pandemic.

The assisted neighborhoods are Algonquin, Portland, California, Russell, Chickasaw, Shawnee, Park DuValle, Shelby Park, Parkland, Park Hill and Smoketown.

Money is loaned to businesses through Louisville Housing and Opportunities Micro-Enterprise Community Development Loan Fund, Inc. LHOME’s business coaching, called “Back to Business Initiative,” focuses on loans under $ 150,000 to help women and minority-owned businesses. .

Shawn Spencer runs Trimen Solutions, a human resources and recruiting agency in the Parkland neighborhood. She said a loan from the fund would have an exponential impact in West Louisville.

“The only thing you need to have on staff first and foremost is money to pay salaries,” Spencer said. “Being able to have a cushion, without necessarily having to go to the bank, is so important. “

With just three rooms and five cabins, Spencer said she makes sure thousands of workers are paid. It was an easier task before the pandemic took over all of its customers.

“Our customers had dried up,” Spencer said. “Some of them were still in operation, (and) some had to close and have yet to reopen.”

Now, she said worker shortages made her so busy that she’s outgrown her office space but doesn’t have the money to expand. Spencer said many businesses like his can’t afford a lot of traditional loans right now, but need cash to become a profitable place.

“It’s good to get the money, but sometimes you don’t know when your income is going to rebound to the point where you can pay that money back,” she said.

LHOME CEO Mary Ellen Wiederwohl said what makes loans special is that up to $ 50,000 can be forgiven. To be eligible for a loan, the business must meet the following conditions:

  • Have an established business that was operating before March 1, 2020;
  • Be the business owner or a majority partner;
  • Have a documented loss of income directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Demonstrate how this coaching and funding will help to re-establish and / or develop the business;
  • Have a bank account; and
  • Be at least 18 years old and have a state-issued ID.

Wiederwohl said that even if business owners don’t qualify, they should reach out.

“We can always help,” she said. “These are the neighborhoods that start far behind everyone.”

This funding is the last of nearly $ 30 million the city has administered to help at least 894 small businesses survive the pandemic.

For Spencer, the culture in West Louisville is especially important.

“If you’re worried about facing high interest loans or where you’re going to get the money to cover the next payroll,” Spencer said. “You can’t do these little things that could change someone’s professional life or career path. “

Wiederwohl said businesses in West Louisville were hit particularly hard during the pandemic as many stores were using non-traditional banks and were not eligible for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. To learn more about loans and if you qualify, Click here.

Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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