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Community donations help fill gaps as Marshall Fire survivors move forward

So far, $19.5 million has been donated to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.

DENVER — Those impacted by the Marshall Fire may get assistance through FEMA and their insurance companies, but for many, that won't be nearly enough to help them move forward after losing everything they owned in the fire, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday.

"The average FEMA payout for a Marshall Fire survivor is only $6,000," Polis said. "Insurance takes a long time. Many people are underinsured relative to cost. It takes a while to process. There might even be some that don't have it if they were renters."

Tatiana Hernandez, President of Community Foundation Boulder County, said as of Tuesday morning, about $19.5 million had been donated to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund through the foundation. While that seems like a lot of money, she said it won't scratch the surface of what's actually needed.

"The amount is really equal to the size of the devastation, and I would say we're still quite short of what might be needed to make people whole," Hernandez said.

She said the foundation has distributed $3.8 million to nearly 1,400 people to provide some stability as they navigate what comes next.

An advisory committee has been formed to help decide how future funds will be distributed as they learn more about the community's long and short-term needs.

Donations have come in from more than 57,000 individuals and companies, including Ball Corporation, which had many employees impacted by the fire. The company donated $1 million and plans to match another $250,000 donated by its employees.

The company has 7,000 employees in Colorado and about 500 of them lived within the evacuation zone of the fire, according to CEO John Hayes.

"Twenty-one of those families lost everything. Dozens more are temporarily displaced because of smoke damage and other things like that," Hayes said.

With so many people displaced, an entire committee has been set up to address housing needs, Hernandez said.

"There's been a committee established that's specifically looking at short-term housing solutions," she said. "There are partners we can bring in for temporary housing, and yes they come at a cost."

She said they're working with local groups to identify the need for housing, and looking at options including the possibility of a designated site for temporary housing.

RELATED: Donation center opens for those impacted by Marshall Fire

A donation center supporting those affected by the Marshall Fire opens Tuesday at the former Nordstrom store at Flatiron Crossing, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

The site is located at Flatirons Crossing Mall inside the former Nordstrom between Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The address is 21 W. Flatiron Crossing Drive in Broomfield.

Those wishing to donate should use the center/north entrance. Not all items will be accepted. Check here for what they need.

People who were affected by the fires and are picking up items should use the west entrance, closer to Macy's. 

Distribution and services for affected individuals will be daily between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. starting Wednesday.

RELATED: A 'Word of Thanks' from Next: Help Boulder County fire victims

A "Word of Thanks" from Next has been set up to help those impacted by the fire. 9NEWS viewers have already contributed more than $2 million for the relief fund. 

The Marshall Fire started on Dec. 30. According to the latest assessment from Boulder OEM, it destroyed 1,084 residential structures. That includes 550 in Louisville, 378 in Superior, and 156 in unincorporated Boulder County. 

The total damage to homes is more than $513 million, according to the Boulder County Assessor.

The assessment shows 149 residential structures were damaged, including 43 in Louisville, 58 in Superior, and 48 in unincorporated Boulder County. 

The county said seven commercial structures were destroyed: four in Louisville and three in Superior. Thirty commercial structures were damaged, including 14 in Louisville, 14 in Superior and two in unincorporated Boulder County.

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