T he Office of Community Services/Community Economic Development (OCS/CED) grant supports initiatives that create jobs and grow businesses to increase self-sufficiency and sustainable employment among low-income populations.

The 2009 grant provides funding for a Micro-Loan Fund program to encourage job creation and development for low-income and minority-owned businesses.

Short-term loans of $10,000 or less are given at a fixed interest rate to those who have been in business at least one year, have acceptable credit standing and are located in the Enterprise Zone, which is an area most impacted by poverty and unemployment. Loans must be paid back in three years or less, with the interest going back into the Micro-Loan Fund. Priority consideration is given to minority small businesses that project to create and/or retain the highest number of jobs.

The three-year OES/CED grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Community Services and the Community Economic Development.