Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch defends getting $4.4 million in federal PPP loans
HOUSTON – Joel Osteen, the pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, has come under fire in recent days after Houston Chronicle reported that the megachurch 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 given to Lakewood Church is the third-largest for any Houston-area business or nonprofit. The data shows that Lakewood Church applied for the loan on July 21 and that 368 jobs would be affected by the loan. In order to have the loan fully forgiven, the PPP loan must be used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities. Osteen’s Lakewood Church and other megachurches have been criticized by some for taking part in the federal recovery program because of their tax-exempt status.