Bennet Welcomes SBA Assistance for Businesses Affected by Royal Gorge Fire

SBA Makes Disaster Loans Available

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today welcomed the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) announcement that it is issuing a disaster declaration for Fremont, Chaffee, Custer, El Paso, Park, Pueblo, Saguache, and Teller counties.

The announcement means that the SBA will make low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small businesses in the areas affected by the Royal Gorge Fire. These loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other obligations that businesses aren’t able to meet due to the disaster’s impact.

"Though the flames have been extinguished, business owners in these regions will feel the impact of this fire for years to come," Bennet said. "It's important that we continue to help these communities with the resources their economies need to recover and rebuild."

Beginning tomorrow and extending through Tuesday, SBA customer service representatives and counselors from the Pueblo Small Business Development Center will be on hand at the Fremont County SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center to provide financial counseling services and information on Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The office is located at 3224-A Independence Road in Canon City.

Bennet has been advocating for federal resources to combat the devastating effects of wildfire in the state.  Last month, he joined members of the Colorado delegation in successfully urging President Obama to designate the Black Forest and Royal Gorge Fires as major disaster areas and pushing the SBA to quickly approve a disaster declaration for the West Fork Fire Complex. He was also instrumental in securing Emergency Watershed Protection funds for areas affected by last year's High Park and Waldo Canyon Fire and supported legislation to allow the Forest Service to operate additional air tanker's to fight wildfires.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure website at  Additional disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA's Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at (800)659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA's website at  Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800)877-8339.

The deadline to apply is May 6, 2014.