May 2nd, 2022 Town Hall with Marshall Fire survivors at Lousville Recreation & Senior Center.
When you last heard from us, just over a month ago, we had been provided the opportunity to meet with hundreds of Marshall Fire survivors to discuss our plan for the Boulder County Wildfire Fund. It was an important first step to share the intent of our plan made possible by the generous outpouring of support from over 77,000 donors.
As we described at that valuable meeting with survivors, the Wildfire Fund will prioritize rebuilding, meeting the needs of the most vulnerable survivors, and providing wrap-around supports for all those affected by this historically destructive wildfire. We also shared how critical it is for our community to stand up human-centered disaster recovery infrastructure that provides one door for survivors through the recovery process.
At its best, philanthropy is a catalyst for innovation. We relentlessly strive to meet this standard through constant collaboration with local and state partners. Since the days after the fire, we have worked with our partners to design an approach to disaster recovery that fills the gap in disaster relief infrastructure while making it easier for survivors to return home. We call this innovative public / private partnership, to be administered by Boulder County government, "recovery navigation."
The recovery navigators are intended to provide a singular point of contact for survivors to apply for variety of funding opportunities, including those provided by the Wildfire Fund, where a human will guide survivors through the rebuilding and recovery process. This innovative program addresses case management needs with a replicable model that makes the process easier on survivors, and speeds-up distribution of recovery dollars not just during Marshall Fire recovery, but in the event of another disaster in our community.
Once the recovery navigator program has opened, which our county partners have estimated to be sometime in mid-June, up to $2.5 million allocated for the unmet needs of survivors and up to $20 million allocated for rebuilding will be made available by initiating the process with navigators. The exact details of when and where survivors can initiate this process will be laid out by the county and organizations supporting the recovery navigation program in the coming weeks.
The $20 million for rebuilding will be available to all those whose homes were damaged or destroyed and choose to rebuild. We set an ambitious goal of 75% of homes being rebuilt, which would triple the national average for communities rebuilding after a disaster. Based on these estimates, each household (HH) that chooses to rebuild will be awarded a baseline amount of $20,000 while each household with members: living with a disability, 65+, having single heads of household (HOH), containing children will each receive additional support.
As was described when we introduced the plan for the Wildfire Fund, our initial $7.5 million of immediate financial assistance, $150,000 to United Policyholders for free insurance navigation, $250,000 to Jewish Family Service and $265,000 to Impact on Education for free mental health services, will be supplemented by other important wrap-around supports such as $750,000 for nonprofits participating in recovery, $500,000 in social resilience funds and $1 million to add to $400,000 the county has approved for the disaster recovery program.
We are fortunate to live in a community which not only met an unprecedented disaster with unprecedented generosity but is served by a public sector open to collaboration. There are difficult choices ahead for many of our neighbors but by aligning resources and processes we hope to reach an ambitious rebuilding goal with a process that makes things as easy as we possibly can for those who choose to return home.
I HAVE BEEN AFFECTED DIRECTLY BY THE MARSHALL FIRE; HOW CAN I GET MORE HELP?
Boulder Office of Emergency Management:
We encourage anyone struggling with the stress and grief of this unimaginable tragedy to please make use of the mental health supports available through Boulder Jewish Family Service’s Boulder County Crisis Counseling program, a partnership between our two organizations. Individual, couples, family, and group sessions are available to you.
The Boulder County Public Call Center
Please reach out to the Boulder County Public Call Center (303) 413-7730 if you were impacted by the fire and need information.
Disability & Disaster Hotline:
Community members who need additional support can call or text 1 (800) 626-4959
If you would like to donate goods and services to directly assist impacted Marshall Fire residents, a new site has been set up: https://dart-co.communityos.org/
Those interested in volunteering should visit www.ColoradoResponds.org.