Even in times of uncertainty, Fahe Members are taking the necessary steps to continue providing for their communities. Their dedication to the residents of Appalachia remains unwavering, no matter the circumstances they’re facing. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the region, our Members are acting as first responders to the housing, food, and economic needs by repurposing and accessing new resources to combat the challenges that have arisen over the last few months. As small business owners feel the increasingly heavy impact of the pandemic, they are in search of relief so they can keep their doors open and continue operating as employers and pillars of the local economy. Fahe Member Neighborhood Concepts, Inc. (NCI) has stepped up to the challenge of providing these small business owners with much needed relief as they cope with the hardships related to COVID-19. Based out of Huntsville, AL, NCI has been offering small business owners access to loans throughout Alabama. Working through their subsidiary the North Alabama Revolving Loan Fund, LLC, they have approved 13 loans through the Emergency Loan Fund, totaling $287,500, for northern Alabama small business owners. 62% of these loans were made to minority or women-owned businesses.
NCI has been providing access to capital for small businesses in the Tennessee Valley since 2013. When COVID-19 hit, they knew from experience that many local businesses would lack the necessary resources to survive the shutdown. As a response, NCI established a COVID-19 Emergency Line of Credit in late March that could loan up to $25,000 to help small businesses with operating costs if their monthly income was unable to cover their expenses due to the pandemic. Since its creation, NCI has approved loans to four restaurant/food service companies, a dog obedience training facility, a pet boarding facility, a local transportation broker, a car wash, home repair and real estate companies, a Department of Defense contractor, and a company providing sign language interpretation.
“From what we have seen so far, the magnitude of COVID-19 has been significant and is touching a wide range of businesses. We have been encouraged by the optimism and ingenuity of these businesses who are finding ways to respond and adapt to keep their business afloat, maintain staffing levels and continue to provide the local services that enhance the quality of life in our communities,” said NCI Executive Director Mary Ellen Judah. In addition to their line of credit, NCI was also able to defer monthly payments for their existing clients and continue to accept applications from northern Alabama businesses experiencing hardships.
Alongside the Emergency Loan Fund, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, NCI has been able to provide rent and utility assistance to residents of their affordable apartment communities, many of whom work in the retail and restaurant industries and have been furloughed or seen hours cut.
NCI’s ability to provide financial relief to community businesses will help to ensure the health and sustainability of the local economy, especially during the following recovery period. Their 30 year dedication to strengthening communities through development of affordable housing and advancement of economic opportunity continues despite the difficult circumstances facing the region.
To learn more about NCI and the services they provide, visit the links below:
To read NCI’s full press release on the Emergency Loan Fund and how to apply please visit here.
To learn more about how the Fahe Network is supporting Appalachia through COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 response page.