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Following three weeks of devastation resulting from the largest wildfire in Texas state history, the Smokehouse Creek Fire was finally contained on March 18 after expanding across 1,058,482 acres, breaking the state record, according to the Austin American-Statesman

While it’s too early to determine the total economic and insured losses of the wildfire, estimated damages could reach into the hundreds of millions. The fire burned agricultural crops, charred and burned down homes, taking the lives of two people, and killing thousands of livestock and much of the valuable grazing land they inhabited. 

Smokehouse Creek Fire disaster relief efforts ongoing

As disaster events like the Smokehouse Creek blaze or hurricanes, tornados, and floods become ever more frequent, intense, and increasingly destructive, the financial services industry and credit unions in particular continue to adapt and respond, evolving their products and services to be available at select on-site recovery locations or through digital fintech like QCash’s Financial First Responder Loans.

Since March 10, relief efforts in the region, particularly from Education Credit Union, the largest cooperative in the region, have been active and ongoing. That’s good news for the affected areas, but especially so for the 20 homeowners in Stinnett alone whose homes succumbed to the wildfire, half of which were uninsured. 

“During our interactions, we’ve learned about the dire needs of those affected,” Marcus Smith, CEO of Education CU, said to CUToday. “Notably, there’s a critical shortage of housing, with many families unable to secure loans for manufactured homes and site preparation costs. Financial resources and donations are urgently required for long-term recovery efforts.”

Getting your members access to immediate disaster relief

That reality, and the new reality for thousands of area residents just like those homeowners, necessitates ready access to immediate financial relief. For those who lost their homes and possessions, existing fintech tools like QCash are fast in providing a soft landing and time to consider next steps. Once they reach that safe haven, they then have the opportunity to go to their credit union’s mobile app, apply for, and secure a flexible QCash Financial First Responder Loan to be deposited in their accounts within seconds. 

According to a Household Pulse survey currently underway by the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1.2 and 1.7 percent of respondents reported being displaced by a natural disaster in the past year, which is an average of 3.1 million people. Even more, the Census Bureau’s findings reveal that 3.4 million people were displaced in 2022, or 1.4 percent of the U.S. adult population.

These findings expose a clear need for credit union members throughout the country who remain at-risk of experiencing a natural disaster and don’t have ready access to funding in case they need it. QCash is ready to work with your credit union to implement a key financial resource into your cooperative that helps with emergency relief, unexpected expenses, or simply those monthly bills that catch up to your members when they have more month than money. 

Feel free to go to our Request a Demo page to see what all the talk is about and how QCash can help you level up your efforts in digital small-dollar lending.