In our current issue, the Indy tells stories of several business owners who are trying to stay afloat after the Waldo Canyon Fire. While none of the businesses along Ute Pass were burned, like 345 homes in northwest Colorado Springs, they were fried by publicity that's kept shoppers away.
So we wanted to pass along a couple of opportunities for those businesses. First, UCCS is offering assistance. Here's the press release:
Small businesses in the Pikes Peak region suffering from reduced sales or customer traffic because of the Waldo Canyon Fire can receive assistance from the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center hosted by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs College of Business.
The Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with the Springs Alliance and the Regional Entrepreneurial Alliance, will offer in-person assistance at the El Paso County Disaster Relief Center, 105 N. Spruce, Colorado Springs, or by appointment at the SBDC offices on the UCCS campus.
“We are here now and will remain long after the ashes have settled,” Aikta Marcoulier, director, Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center, said. “The SBDC will assist businesses for as long as it takes. Our mission is to help small business recover and advance from this disaster.”
The SBDC is part of the Pikes Peak Region Business Recovery Team which is working to identify federal, state, local and private resources to assist small businesses in the wake of the June/July 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, the worst in Colorado history.
The SBDC is sponsored by the UCCS College of Business and the U.S. Small Business Administration. It offers business consulting and training that assists small businesses in El Paso and Teller counties. For more information about the SBDC and services it offers, visit www.cssbdc.org or call (719) 255-3844. Businesses interested in receiving assistance may begin by completing a form available at http://cssbdc.org/site/images/pdf/intake%20form%207-2-12.pdf
Next, the state has announced a program of unemployment assistance for which business owners might qualify. The following release was conveyed to us by El Paso County:
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has announced availability of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to help workers who lost their jobs, and self-employed individuals who are unable to work, recover from the effects of the High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires that began on June 9, 2012.
Affected individuals who live or work in El Paso and Larimer Counties must submit applications for DUA by August 8, 2012. Claims filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and benefits denied, unless the individual provides good cause for filing late. The first possible week of DUA compensation is the week beginning June 10, 2012, and ending June 16, 2012. Benefit payments may continue through December 29, 2012, as long as the unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster.
DUA is available to people who:
Do not qualify for regular state unemployment benefits.
Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment, but were unable to do so because of the disaster.
Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster.
Cannot reach their place of employment as a direct result of the disaster.
Have been prevented from work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster.
Establish that work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income.
Have become the major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household.
To file a claim for DUA, applicants may visit a local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), the Pikes Peak or Larimer County Workforce Centers, or call the Wildfire Unemployment Resource phone line at 1-888-843-8382 (outside Denver-metro area) or 303-318-9038 (Denver-metro area). The
Wildfire Unemployment Resource phone line requires applicants to leave a message with their name, social security number, callback number, and best time(s) to return their call.
The Waldo Canyon DRC is located at 105 North Spruce Street Colorado Springs, CO 80905
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is located at 1675 Garden of the Gods Road in Colorado Springs (719-667-3700).
The High Park Fire DRC is located at Johnson Hall, south entrance, 950 E. Drive, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523, room #222.
The Larimer County Workforce Center is at 200 West Oak Street, Suite 5000, in Fort Collins (970-498-6600).
To receive DUA benefits, you must provide documentation to support that you were working, were self-employed, or had prospective employment at the time of the disaster. Self-employed individuals must provide federal tax forms (including all schedules) for the 2011 tax year. The documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA claim is filed.
In addition to DUA benefits, individuals may contact their nearest workforce center to receive job-search assistance. A full list of all workforce centers is available online. Visit www.colorado.gov/cdle and click on Workforce Center Services.
Additional information is available online at www.colorado.gov/cdle.
Perhaps the biggest help to our hometown business owners will be at the cash register. So if you have a few bucks to spend, find your way to the Rockrimmon area, Green Mountain Falls and other areas where some businesses are barely hanging on. Have lunch. Buy a souvenir. Support them.