SBA Makes Disaster Loans Available for West Fork Fire Area

Disaster Designation Follows Request from Colorado Congressional Delegation

Washington, DC – The Colorado Congressional delegation today welcomed an announcement that the Small Business Administration (SBA) would issue a disaster declaration for southwestern Colorado counties, making low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to small businesses economically impacted by the West Fork Fire Complex in that area of the state. Last week, all nine members of the Colorado Congressional delegation urged President Obama to approve a request by Governor John Hickenlooper to expedite federal assistance for victims of this summer’s wildfires, and specifically asked for the Administration to quickly approve an SBA declaration for the West Fork Complex area.

The delegation issued a joint statement:

“Communities all around Colorado continue to deal with the devastating effects of another catastrophic wildfire season, including those near the West Fork Fire Complex in southwest Colorado. This assistance from the SBA will help small business owners rebuild and recover from the financial losses of this disaster. This vital assistance is one more tool to support Coloradans efforts to prevent, fight and recover from wildfires. We will continue to work closely with these communities and federal agencies to ensure access to the assistance they need. And we will keep pushing the Administration to approve a major disaster declaration for the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires.”

Last week, members of the delegation wrote to President Obama urging the SBA to quickly approve a disaster declaration for the West Fork Fire Complex, which continues to burn. Businesses newly eligible for assistance include those in Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Archuleta, Conejos, Gunnison, La Plata, Ouray, Saguache, and San Juan counties. Beginning Tuesday, July 23, SBA customer service representatives and counselors from the San Luis Valley and Western Small Business Development Centers will be available at designated Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.  Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877‑8339.

The deadline to apply for these loans is April 15, 2014.

*This release was sent as a joint delegation release.