Joel Osteen’s mega-church in Houston defends $ 4.4 million in federal P3 loans
HOUSTON – Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, has come under fire in recent days after Houston Chronicle reported that the mega-church received $ 4.4 million in PPP loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Federal Paycheck Protection Program Loan Data provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) indicates that the loan to Lakewood Church is the third largest for any business or nonprofit in the Houston area.
Data shows Lakewood Church applied for the loan on July 21 and 368 jobs would be affected by the loan.
At least one of the eligibility criteria for a PPP loan is that an entity must have “500 or fewer employees whose primary place of residence is in the United States or who is a company that operates in a certain industry and that is responds to the applicable SBA employee. according to the size standards for this industry ”, according to the Federal Register.
For the loan to be fully forgiven, the PPP loan must be used for salary costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.
Osteen’s Lakewood Church and other mega-churches have been criticized by some for participating in the federal relief program due to their tax-exempt status.
David Iloff, a spokesperson for Lakewood Church, made the following statement to our sister station: KPRC, concerning the loan:
Lakewood Church, our 368 full and part-time employees and their families are grateful for the payroll protection program in these uncertain economic times caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.
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