A 13-county area consortium met in Brady on Thursday for its quarterly meeting.’The highlight of the meeting was the awarding of a $68,600 small business revolving loan presented by the USDA. Wendy Ellis, the economic development coordinator for Brady, hosted the event. Johnny Griffin the Executive Director of the 13- county workforce board said that small businesses are the life blood of communities. ‘They are the number one employers and creators of new jobs,’ he said. Representatives of the Rural Development Board from Brownwood and San Angelo were on hand for the presentation, and also spoke on two of the 40 types of loans the USDA can provide for housing lending. The topic centered on attracting a market’ for building new housing for new or existing small business employees. Loans discussed included those that could be secured by low or very low income families to buy, build or repair homes. Members of a local coalition that have been studying the lack of adequate housing and the need for such, briefly discussed some of the visions that group has for trying to alleviate the problem. Members of the 13 counties (which include Coke, Concho, Crockett, Kimble, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Mertzon, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, Reagan and Tom Green) which make up the consortium all agreed that housing is a problem with developing new rural business, and decided to go back to their respective counties and perform a needs assessment and bring back questions and answers for the next meeting in June.