New Colorado law provides wildfire and disaster relief funding

Marshal Fire in Boulder County, December, 2021.
Marshal Fire in Boulder County, December, 2021.(KKTV shot video)
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:13 PM MDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2022 at 6:44 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law a bill which will provide millions of dollars of financial relief to Colorado families affected by wildfires and natural disasters. The bill covers families whose homes were damaged or destroyed during the following state-declared disasters:

  • 2018 Spring Creek Fire, San Juan and La Plata counties
  • 2018 Chateau Fire, Teller County
  • 2018 Lake Christine Fire, Eagle County
  • 2019 Avalanche debris and flooding risk, Hinsdale County
  • 2020 Cameron Peak Fire, Larimer County
  • 2020 East Troublesome Fire, Grand County
  • 2020 Calwood Fire, Boulder County
  • 2021 Muddy Slide Fire, Routt County
  • 2022 Marshall Fire and straight-line winds, Boulder County

In order to be eligible, the applicant must have been living in the home at the time of the disaster. Low- and middle-income residents are eligible for grants as part of the program, while higher-income residents can receive low-interest loans of up to $50,000.

The program ultimately aims to fill the gap left by under-insurance.

“The people up in the Marshall Fire, your typical policy will have one or two years’ worth of rental coverage with the idea you could build your house in that period. Well, you know, but with them being under-insured, they don’t really have the money to even fully replace what they had,” explained state Rep. Marc Snyder. “And I think the under-insurance, there will be legislation introduced next year to address that chronic under-insurance problem that we have in Colorado.”

Furthermore, the law also focuses on not just rebuilding efforts after wildfires and disasters, but being more prepared for when they do happen.

“A lot of folks who maybe haven’t lost their home but they have the opportunity to get a grant, put in a heat pump system, something like that, which will reduce overall demand for energy, which will also lower their energy bills. And hopefully allow that property to be a little more self sustaining in the event of an emergency like a wildfire,” Snyder elaborates. “When a disaster happens, the grid is one of the first things to go; you might be looking at three days or three weeks without power. So if you have alternative energy sources so that you can keep your refrigerator on, keep the house at a temperature that’s livable, those are things that will help people in the short term to just weather through those first days or weeks of a crisis.”

The bill isn’t just for homeowners or residents, but allows widespread collaboration towards natural disaster resiliency.

“It’s available to local governments, neighborhoods, homeowners associations, and others that wanna, you know, access this and really build a more resilient, prepared homes in communities going down the future,” states Snyder.

Applications are expected to become available in August or early September, and will be accessible online through the Department of Local Affairs. Click here for more information on the Disaster Resilience Rebuilding Program.

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