The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has decided to allow Colorado to directly administer $6 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for recovery from the devastating Marshall Fire.
Normally, HUD would require Boulder County, rather than the state, to administer these funds, but this rule can squeeze counties with already limited resources, according to a U.S. Congress news release. Instead, the department granted a request from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs to waive this rule. The change is expected to aid the recovery process for communities affected by the Marshall Fire, which destroyed over 1,000 homes in Louisville, Superior and unincorporated Boulder County.
According to Boulder County Commissioners Claire Levy this federal support will be critical to helping the local government recover from the damages of the fire.
“These natural disasters that are so expensive are not the kind of thing that local governments have money for,” Levy said. “When something like (the Marshall Fire) comes along that is a gargantuan burden … we’re not able to shoulder the burden on our own.”
U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, both D-Colorado, and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, applauded the HUD’s decision, according to the release. The legislators had sent a letter to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in August asking her to approve DOLA’s waiver request.
“We must help rebuild the communities impacted by the Marshall Fire. This HUD waiver will get funding faster to those who need it most,” Hickenlooper stated in the release.
“We greatly appreciate HUD’s flexibility and support on this matter,” Bennet stated in the release. “Every dollar we save by streamlining the process is another dollar for the survivors of the Marshall Fire as they continue to rebuild.”
“I’m grateful that the (HUD) has provided additional relief by granting our request for a Community Development Block Grant waiver,” Neguse stated in the release. “And we will keep working every day to ensure that federal resources are brought to bear as our community recovers from this unprecedented disaster.”
Rick Garcia, executive director at DOLA, expressed gratitude to the three lawmakers for their support of the waiver, saying in the release that it “enables private nonprofit entities to receive and quickly disperse these funds to residents of Louisville, Superior, and unincorporated Boulder County.”