LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Government announced an agreement with nonprofit LHOME to administer a $2.2 million loan fund for small businesses in Smoketown, Shelby Park and nine west Louisville neighborhoods impacted by COVID-19. What You Need To Know Louisville Metro Government announced an agreement with nonprofit LHOME to administer a $2.2 million loan fund for small businesses The funds come from federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars for LHOME's Back to Business initiative LHOME, the Louisville Urban League and A Path Forward designed the program together The fund defines small businesses as businesses with fewer than 300 employees and less than $20 million in average annual revenue The funds come from federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars for LHOME's Back to Business initiative. According to a release from the mayor's office, the program offers free business coaching and affordable loans, with priority given to businesses owned by minorities, women and those with disabilities. “Early last year, Louisville Metro committed to supporting small businesses struggling through the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing our intentionality around investing in places and people who lack access to capital and other resources due to the impacts of disinvestment and discriminatory practices like redlining. We are happy to work with LHOME, a great community partner, as they help businesses return to their pre-pandemic profitability and set them on a path of growth,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. The mayor's office described how the program will work. Businesses participating in the initiative will start by working with a small business coach to determine business needs and eligibility. The LHOME coach will work with businesses to collect or produce all necessary information and paperwork to apply for a loan. Eligible businesses could receive a maximum loan of $150,000, up to $50,000 of which may be forgivable. The amount of the loan and terms will depend on an individual business’ needs. “I am very excited LHOME is launching the Back to Business loan program. The pandemic has stressed and stretched small businesses,” said Adam Hall, LHOME’s board chair. “This loan fund will contribute to a thriving economic infrastructure in Louisville, getting vulnerable business back to their pre-pandemic success.” LHOME, the Louisville Urban League and A Path Forward designed the program together. The fund defines small businesses as businesses with fewer than 300 employees and less than $20 million in average annual revenue. Eligible applicants must: 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 COVID-19 pandemic; Demonstrate how this coaching and funding will help reestablish and/or grow the business; Have a bank account; and Be at least 18 years of age and have a state-issued ID. Funds must be used for working capital (wages, mortgage/rent, supplies, utilities, etc.), inventory, vendor-installed equipment, and other equipment (computers, kitchen equipment/appliances, etc.) Businesses can fill out the contact form and answer eligibility questions online. Related Stories
In June 2020, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee at the hands of police and National Guard, respectively, Black leaders in Louisville published A Path Forward for Louisville, a petition that outlines changes and solutions to systemic problems and racial disparities in Louisville.Here are three things to know about the document:What changes did the document call for?A Path Forward called for a variety of changes — from police reform, to support for Black business owners, to revamped educational policies, to more affordable housing in the West End.The document referenced the “long and challenging history LMPD has had with Louisville’s Black community” and sought to divest from policing and invest in other first responders, such as social workers, and also create a more diverse — both in race and gender — police force, among other suggested changes.It also called for JCPS to use newly raised money to “increase equity initiatives” and aimed to create a “pipeline of Black educators.”The document further called for “expanded mental health support.” A Path Forward, a year later:How has Louisville responded to racial justice petition?What financial investment does it seek?The document seeks to create a $50 million Black Community Fund “to begin the process of addressing systemic racism in our community.” Framers had hoped the city would fund the $50 million, but it has not, which Lyndon Pryor, the Louisville Urban League’s Chief Engagement Officer, called “a constant disappointment.”The fund has raised some money from donations, however, which have gone to community learning hubs, a business incubator and affordable housing efforts.Who is does it target as needing to act?The petition was addressed to Metro Council President David James and Mayor Greg Fischer, who said the document has informed his administration’s thinking of city priorities. The document also listed Gov. Andy Beshear, other government leaders, Jefferson County Public Schools, financial institutions and many other organizations as needing to act, as well as “you,” the individual resident.Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League and one of the framers of the document, said the document has been largely well received.“I think there are a lot of organizations that are looking to the document to determine how they move forward,” she said.Hayes Gardner can be reached at email@example.com; Twitter: @HayesGardner.
Louisville organizations have given money to help Black businesses, opened medical services in underserved areas and raised awareness about racism. Source: How Louisville organizations have changed after Breonna Taylor's death
A survivor recounts years of alleged abuse in the Police Explorers programs, part of the Boy Scouts of America. Source: A Police Training Program Has Been Plagued By Sexual Abuse Allegations