CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A Cincinnati business owner is helping make a federal change after being told he was unable to get Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds because of his criminal past.
Troy Parker owns Innovative Labor and Cleaning Services, a business specializing in construction site cleaning and debris removal.
He started the business in 2015 after being incarcerated.
Parker now makes it his mission to hire others like him re-entering the community.
“When a person re-enters the community after being incarcerated, many times many of the opportunities and benefits that were once available are no longer available,” said Parker. “I found this out myself when I tried to apply for the PPP loan.”
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Parker was ineligible to get a PPP loan because of his unrelated prior felony.
He worked with community partners, like the Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, to connect with U.S Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who introduced the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Second Chance Act.
The act allows second chance owners like Parker to get PPP funds but also keeps in place the five-year timeframe for felony crimes related to financial fraud.
The Small Business Association changed its rules so that probation and parole no longer were factors in whether someone was eligible.
“Troy Parker is an example of what is right about our country,” Portman said Monday while visiting Cincinnati. “When somebody makes a mistake, ends up in the prison system and gets out, you want them to turn their life around. In Troy’s case, not just to get back on his feet and turn his life around, but help others do the same.”
The bill will be permanently voted on when the Senate reconvenes.
“When you’re trying to legislate trillions of dollars in a matter of weeks, sometimes you miss things,” said Portman. “That’s what’s supposed to happen in government, you’re supposed to give people a helping hand when they need it.”
Parker was awarded $235,000 in PPP loans in June. He says he used those funds to expand his business, save jobs and purchase two dump trucks.
“Senator Portman has shown through his legislative action and with PPP, that he believes in giving a second chance, and a lot of people and corporations now are embracing that attitude and giving people opportunities,” said Parker.