NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A U.S. foundation said it will begin offering micro-loans to Hurricane Katrina-ravaged businesses in a program similar to those used in developing countries.
The three- to seven-year loans will range from $5,000 to $15,000 and be made available for businesses with 25 or fewer employees that were established at least six months before Katrina ravaged the coastal region in 2005, The Christian Science Monitor reported Tuesday.
"We thought if you could do it in the developing world, there must be a way to do it in the U.S. ... for people who don't need millions and are often overlooked," Simon Greer, president and chief executive officer of Jewish Funds for Justice, told the newspaper.
The foundation plans to match donations dollar for dollar for the first five loans in what will become a revolving money supply. As loans are repaid, the fund will replenish itself, the newspaper said.
Restoring small businesses is "essential to the long-term stability of these neighborhoods," Christy Wallace Slater of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery said.
One quarter of the small businesses affected by Katrina have yet to reopen, the Christian Science Monitor reported.