Gov. Lujan Grisham announces financial relief for businesses through the Wildfire Grant Program
Grants will range from $5,000 to $20,000 for businesses damaged by fire
LAS VEGAS – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Saturday the launch of the Wildfire Business Assistance Grant Program, which will provide emergency assistance to business owners and self-employed individuals whose businesses were physically damaged or saw reduced revenue due to recent wildfires.
Gov. Lujan Grisham authorized the Economic Development Department (EDD) to create the New Mexico Wildfire Business Assistance Grant, a new $1.5 million temporary program to provide support to small businesses and self-employed individuals when federal assistance falls short.
“The communities impacted by New Mexico wildfires have suffered horrific losses and some of what is gone can never be replaced,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “But this grant program will supplement federal government assistance to help businesses recover faster.”
Businesses that qualify for priority assistance must be inside the boundaries of the Presidential Disaster Declaration for the Big Hole, Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak, Cooks Peak, and McBride fires. Those areas are Colfax, San Miguel, and Mora Counties, parts of Lincoln County (ZIP codes 88345 and 88312) and Valencia County (ZIP code 87002); and regions of Sandoval and Los Alamos counties impacted by wildfire and evacuations.
Eligible businesses can qualify to receive between $5,000 and $20,000. The money available is repurposed from the EDD’s Collateral Assistance Program, which utilizes federal funding.
“The governor has taken the lead in helping EDD free up these dollars so the money can be used immediately to help families and business owners,” Economic Development Department Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. “We know it’s just a fraction of the assistance that is needed, but these funds are available now and can be used by any businesses and sole proprietor who experienced losses from these horrific fires.”
Applicants are encouraged to sign up for a webinar hosted by EDD to provide an overview of the program and application process. The information session is scheduled for 9 a.m. August 11. Those interested may register here.
The application portal will be open for two weeks starting on August 15 and ending August 26. If funds are still available, additional application periods will be announced. The program will close when funds are exhausted or Dec. 1, 2022.
“The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire has caused unimaginable destruction to our life-giving watersheds and the communities many call home. As Chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission and owner of Molino de la Isla Organics in Pecos, I have seen the destruction. I have heard many stories of hardships and pleas for assistance,” said Ralph Vigil, a 12th generation New Mexican and owner of Molina de la Isla Organics LLC in Pecos and chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission.”We have a long road ahead of us, and we need to work together to assist those in need. I appreciate Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for all her efforts to ensure victims of the fire are getting what they need. Knowing that there is additional assistance to help mitigate the losses for so many brings a huge sigh of relief to communities that have been affected.”
EDD’s Outdoor Recreation Division has been instrumental in setting up the program as many of the businesses who were forced to cease operations were outdoor outfitters and guides, some of whom not only lost revenue, but helped in the fire relief and emergency efforts.
“Building New Mexico’s outdoor economy remains a priority for Gov. Lujan Grisham, and we know these businesses depend on healthy public lands and waters. Wildfires and the forest closures can be devastating to these entrepreneurs,” Axie Navas, director of the Outdoor Recreation Division (a division of EDD), said. “I want to encourage all businesses who saw a physical or financial loss from the recent wildfire disasters to seek assistance from this emergency grant program. This is how we support the backbone of the New Mexico outdoor industry.”
All types of business qualify for assistance, including restaurants and hospitality services, if they can demonstrate that operations were physically damaged or impacted by the fires.
To qualify, a business must demonstrate that they:
- Are legally operating in New Mexico with a CRS #
- Have a business address located in a wildfire impacted area or majority of business operations occur in wildfire impacted area
- Have experienced physical fire damage to business property; and/or the business’ revenue declined due to the fires, like restaurants and outdoor recreation businesses.
To receive additional funding beyond $5,000, businesses must either provide an insurance claim showing fire damage or provide proof of revenue decline due to the wildfires.
Funds from the grant can be used for construction and repair costs, operating capital, asset purchases and administrative costs.
For more information on the program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-827-0300.
To further assist individuals and businesses affected by the wildfires, New Mexico’s congressional delegation introduced the Hermit’s Peak Fire Assistance Act. The Act has passed the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and is awaiting action in the Senate. The legislation would require FEMA to fully compensate residents and business owners impacted by the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire, which were ignited by federal prescribed burns.