BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – As victims of the Marshall Fire continue to navigate the rebuilding process, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced how much relief money has been disbursed to families.
FEMA revealed that nearly $70 million in federal funding was distributed to victims of the disaster that cost nearly 1,000 structures.
While that’s generally good news, some city leaders and groups working with victims say it’s not enough for those who lost everything in the fire. This FEMA funding was made available to get families back on their feet.
“$936,000 under the Individual and Household program. It breaks down into $750,000 in housing assistance, home repairs, rental costs,” explained FEMA Region 8 Media Specialist Tony Mayne. “Then $179,000 for other needs: repair/replacement of personal property, repair and replacement of vehicles, moving expenses and other needs.”
Another $68 million is on the way to fund low-interest disaster loans, which executives say is much needed.
“We absolutely need system-wide change that will transform the country and we need the help of the federal government,” said Louisville Mayor Ashley Stolzmann. “That’s why I want to stand today to thank Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper for supporting the Build Back Better Act,” the mayor concluded.
Although Colorado senators agree with the bill that, if passed, would allocate millions to climate investment, other congressional senators are blocking the bill.
“We may have to break this up and let it stand on its own and have the Senate vote on it separately from the bigger picture,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock suggested, before saying, “I hate doing this. and hate to see it happen because we know how Congress works, but that might be the best way to go — and probably the fastest way for this, too — right now.
A call from the community for more
As leaders look to funding for the future, community groups like the Boulder Fire and Surrounding Area Victims Distribution Facebook page are helping replace items that federal aid may not cover.
“The contents of a house, multiplied by 3,000, right? And that’s a huge amount of money that just isn’t there right now,” said group administrator Meryl Suissa.
The group collects emails from people in the community who need items, then creates Amazon wishlists where people can contribute towards buying items for families.
“The full list we received last night for our families totals over 300,000 goods. These are things we weren’t able to get through donations or from large corporations. Although we’ve stretched the hand, we need a community response. We need businesses to help us take some of this,” Suissa said.
The group’s administrator said dozens of families still needed help replacing items they simply couldn’t afford to buy back or replace.
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