Pharr EDC launches grant program for pandemic-impacted businesses

The Pharr Economic Development Corporation is launching a COVID-19 Emergency Business Grant Program to help local businesses affected by the coronavirus with a means to recover.

Pharr CARES — or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Support — will provide financial relief in the form of forgivable grants between $2,500 and $5,000.

Businesses looking to apply for the loan, which is one per applicant, must meet a certain criteria. Businesses must be located in Pharr and provide proof of ownership. Applicants must also be current on all property and sales taxes due, and at least 51% of the business must be owned by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (green card holder), as well as employ less than 25 employees.

A balance sheet and profit and loss statements, federal tax returns for the last two fiscal years are also required. And applicants must demonstrate how COVID-19 has negatively impacted their business.

During the process of creating the grant, Pharr EDC Executive Director Victor Perez said that surveys were taken of local businesses to better assess the needs of local business owners, including the Pharr Worksafe Program and the Pharr Impact Survey.

Perez said that small businesses in particular were substantially impacted by the pandemic and resulting closures.

“We did get hurt. We got hurt quite a bit,” Perez said. “It was loss of sales and loss of revenues. Also having to lay off or furlough some employees. That too as well. That’s what our loan covers. It covers payroll, it covers for rent, it covers for supplies or materials. We know what’s needed.”

Local business owners can visit the Pharr EDC website, www.pharredc.com/cares, to apply.

Anyone seeking assistance in applying for Pharr CARES can visit the Pharr Recovery Center, which is currently operating out of the Pharr Events Center located at 3000 N. Cage Blvd.

The EDC board is already going through applications and plans on awarding grants as early as this weekend. The application period for Pharr CARES will end June 30.