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Small business loan helped keep afloat critical health clinic on Atlanta's West End

For health clinics and other small businesses that serve low income patients, customers and clients, SBA loans are now critical for survival.

ATLANTA — Metro Atlanta small business owners are again rushing to the banks to get a piece of the $310 billion Small Business Administration paycheck protection loans after many were frozen out of the first round when the money quickly ran out.

For the Family Health Centers of Georgia, serving low income and indigent patients in the city's West End neighborhood, getting an SBA loan was critical to its survival.

“We would have been struggling to meet payroll, and we would have been struggling with our financial obligations,” said Dr. Michael Brooks, President and CEO of Family Health Centers.

With a staff of 120 employees, Dr. Brooks said the more than $1 million he got after not getting anything in the first round is critical to one of the core missions of the Centers.

“We are seeing patients who are unemployed and uninsured - we see them all," Brooks said. "We don’t refuse service to anyone."

One of those patients Ebonie Whisonant, a single mother of two, who has been living in Atlanta's West End for 21 years and relies on the clinic for all of her medical needs.

“It is very important to me, because I am a low income family, and I need it," she said. "It is convenient, and if they don’t continue, my children would not have gotten the services they needed, and I would have been out on the street."

Another key role of the Family Health Centers is offering free Covid-19 testing, which they've been doing for more than a month. They say the loan will now keep that going.

RELATED: Fulton County ramps up coronavirus testing with neighborhood walk-up testing

George Andrews, the operator for the Atlanta branch of African-American owned Unity National Bank, is helping make sure Family Health Centers and other small business owners are properly submitting SBA loan applications to ensure they're getting the money they need.

“We have submitted over one hundred applications and twenty-five have been approved, representing in the neighborhood of five to seven million dollars,” he said.

All that money, said Andrews, is what will keep small businesses alive on Atlanta's West End.

Without it, he said many “mom-and-pop” stores and restaurants will be forced to close down permanently.


To sign up for free Covid-19 testing:

Call Family Health Centers of Georgia

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