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Biden OK accelerated major disaster declaration and paves the way for rapid assistance to businesses

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President Joe Biden verbally approved an expedited declaration of major disaster following the Marshall fire that damaged or destroyed at least 500 homes and an unknown number of businesses in Louisville, Superior and Broomfield on Friday.

Governor Jared Polis, at a press conference on Friday, confirmed the statement, which turns on the tap of federal aid to homeowners and businesses affected by the fire.

Biden “called and offered his support to the people of Colorado” and said the declaration of major disaster would be finalized within hours, Polis said.

“This means those who have suffered a loss – small businesses and homeowners – won’t have to wait for a preliminary damage assessment to get housing and small business assistance,” he said.

Such a statement “provides a wide range of federal assistance programs to individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for emergency and permanent works,” according to a fact sheet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. the United States.

“Any business or private non-profit organization located in a declared disaster area that suffered damage during the disaster can apply for a loan to help replace damaged property or restore it to its pre-disaster condition. “, according to FEMA. . “If your business or private nonprofit organization – large or small – has suffered physical damage as a result of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the US Small Business Administration. The SBA provides physical disaster loans of up to $ 2 million to qualified businesses or private not-for-profit organizations. “

Additionally, businesses located in the disaster area may be eligible for an economic damage loan if it can be proven that the business has suffered economic damage as a result of the disaster.

“Substantial economic damage is the inability of a business to meet its obligations as they fall due and pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses,” according to FEMA. “EIDLs provide the working capital necessary to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. “

Businesses can seek help directly from the SBA.

Local leaders and congressional representatives from the region thanked Biden on Friday for his swift response to the Marshall fire.

The declaration of major disaster “will be essential in bringing federal resources to Boulder County,” said US Senator Michael Bennet.

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