Wildfire fund raises over $800,000 for evacuees
Just over a week after the East Troublesome Fire put Grand County in national headlines, the Grand Foundation’s Wildfire Emergency Fund has raised almost $1 million for those displaced by the fire.
Executive Director Megan Ledin said Thursday that over 3,000 online donations and hundreds of checks have been made, totaling $806,712.
“This community has been amazing with the outpouring of support,” Ledin said. “I’m thoroughly proud to live here.”
The money will be provided to people impacted by the fire on an application basis, and a committee of locals will review the applications. Ledin said that process is still in the works because it will be informed by the damage assessment the sheriff’s office is preparing and who was evacuated.
The fund also hopes to help anyone impacted by fire facing an emergency situation as they come up.
“We’re still trying to assess the needs … so we’re trying to formulate a simplistic, streamlined application process,” Ledin explained.
At least 50 local businesses have reached out to the Grand Foundation to partner with the foundation, match funds, donate proceeds or host fundraisers, according to Ledin. Outside Grand County, Front Range businesses have also expressed commitments to donate.
Donations can be made through GrandFoundation.com/donate. All of the funds raised will go to those impacted, including to help pay for short or long term housing.
With housing already being tight in Grand, Ledin said the fund is working alongside county efforts to provide long-term residences.
DiAnn Butler, executive director of Grand County Economic Development, is heading the work to connect homeowners who are willing to offer their space and people displaced by the fire.
The county created forms for the two groups to fill out and then will use the information to match homeowners with those needing a place to stay. Evacuees can fill out the form at bit.ly/35L06mX and those offering housing can fill out the form at bit.ly/3mFEyPL.
“Then we’ll be able to sort it by bedrooms, whether they take pets, what location it’s being offered in to better help the displaced homeowner figure out where to connect,” Butler said.
Butler added that community representatives would be manning a booth at the Disaster Assistance Center, at the Inn at SilverCreek, to take down information for anyone wanting to sign up for the program.
The center will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends and will have a variety of resources, from clothes to food to insurance agents.
Butler added that she’s also working to potentially create a portal on the WorkInGrand.com website that would allow people to connect online in a verified and protected way.
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Grand County’s real estate transactions Feb. 21-27 were worth more than $11.3 million combined.