An economic development nonprofit plans to provide loans to small businesses in its community especially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Westside Development Corp. board of directors allocated up to $50,000 total in loans on March 27 to small businesses on the West Side suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The board of directors held its meeting via phone conference call to avoid public health risk, as allowed under Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s temporary suspension of certain aspects of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Ramiro Gonzales, interim president and CEO for the organization, said in the call that the decision is a shift from its normal loan and grant application process, which would typically close March 31, to continuing applications through the pandemic.

The program will provide 12-month loans — each up to $5,000 with a 4% interest rate — to small businesses on the West Side that have been active for more than six months, can provide proof of injury from COVID-19 and are current on any outstanding payments to the organization.

Businesses will not have to pay back the loans for four months. The loans are also forgivable, meaning they can turn into grants under some criteria.

“We’re trying to identify and fill that niche of businesses that don’t necessarily meet the qualifications or don’t qualify for those other programs that are out there,” Gonzales said.

Funding for the loans will come from the group’s annual $100,000 budget from the city of San Antonio reserved for community initiatives such as the organization’s existing small business loan and grant program.

Businesses interested in the COVID-19 relief loans can apply through the existing loan process on the organization’s website.

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