Bennet: Wildfire Assistance Expanded by SBA, FEMA

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement after the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that additional assistance will be available to homeowners and businesses in counties affected by the Colorado wildfires this summer. 

“Colorado homeowners and businesses now have access to new SBA resources, which will help our state recover from the destructive summer wildfires,” Bennet said.  “In addition, FEMA’s recent expansion of the disaster declaration will help mitigate the damage of any future fires.  I will continue to work with state and local officials to ensure Coloradans are able to recover and rebuild as seamlessly and as swiftly as possible.”

The new determination by SBA, based on assessments conducted in Colorado over the past month, will make low-interest disaster loans available to homeowners and small businesses in 13 Colorado counties that suffered physical damage as a result of the wildfires, allowing Coloradans access to credit to help rebuild and repair.  Colorado businesses and non-profits are also now eligible for economic injury loans. These loans will help businesses – especially those dependent on tourism dollars that saw their revenues decline following the fires – ensure that they can keep their employees on payroll and keep their doors open. 

It was also announced earlier this week that FEMA has expanded the federal disaster declaration to allow state and local governments across Colorado to apply for new funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.  This funding will allow Colorado emergency management officials to make targeted investments aimed at preventing the spread of future fires and mitigating their destructive impacts. Dollars flowing to Colorado through the mitigation grant program will save us money in the long run, and help keep Colorado homes safe from uncontrolled blazes for years to come.

Bennet had joined the rest of the Colorado delegation in several recent letters urging the federal government to expand the disaster declaration to include additional assistance; one letter specifically highlighted the importance of SBA disaster loans and the urged the federal government to make these loans available in Colorado.