$300K of Harris Co.'s $10M small business loans already paid out

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A local video production company is going to be able to keep its employees on the payroll thanks to a Harris County small business loan program.

During a briefing led by Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia on Monday, co-owner of The Storyhive near downtown said it received $25,000 by applying to Garcia's Small Business Economic Assistance Loan Program that was launched last month.

"The Harris County loan is really a big relief," said Jenna Moreno. "I just feel so much better now. It's a great relief, and we're very thankful to Adrian Garcia and to Houston. I mean, this is really reflective of the Houston community, I think, of how we continue to give back to each other."

The $10 million program aimed to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic by offering zero-interest, forgivable loans up to $25,000 to meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses and obligations.

Moreno said The Storyhive began experiencing a decline in business in February when events, galas and luncheons began canceling. She said December through May is typically their busy season.

"We were very concerned about what we were going to do," said Moreno.

Moreno said she and her co-owners were also able to get a loan from the federally-backed Paycheck Protection Program, also known as PPP.

"That was going to help us make through June. Now that we have this Harris County loan, we're probably going to make it until the end of summer."

Garcia said as of Monday, there is about $300,000 in loans that's ready to go out to other small businesses in Harris County, possibly this week.

"Their doors are going to stay open, their business is going to continue to be a resource to the community and their employees are going to remain on the payroll," said Garcia. "I'm extremely excited."

The program is no longer accepting applications, but Garcia said help could be coming to those on the wait list. The program allocated $10 million, but the total number of money requested by owners was nearly $150 million.

"My hope is that once we see this rolling out the way we intended it to, I'm hoping I can come back to the table with not so much a new program, but rather a new investment in the same program," Garcia explained.

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