The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Alaska joined forces Saturday in Eagle River, opening a center dedicated to helping one of the areas hardest hit by Southcentral Alaska’s Nov. 30 earthquake.

Alaskans who suffered property damage or losses in the 7.0 quake can apply for both state and federal relief funds, following President Trump’s declaration of a major federal disaster. Feb. 28 marks the deadline for state applications, with FEMA taking applications through April 1.

"We came here because, actually, Eagle River was one of the hardest-hit communities in the three boroughs that were impacted," said FEMA spokesman Jack Heesch.

Initial traffic was sparse Saturday at the Eagle River center in the Community Covenant Church at 16123 Artillery Road, which also took in businesses displaced by the quake. FEMA officials are expecting more visitors soon, however.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Alaska opened a disaster recovery center in Eagle River on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 for those affected by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Dave Leval/KTVA)

“Alaska homeowners, renters and business owners in Anchorage and the [Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula boroughs], which were included in the major disaster declaration, may apply for assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from the earthquake,” FEMA officials wrote. “FEMA may be able to provide grants to help repair an earthquake-damaged home or pay for temporary lodging if an applicant is still unable to live at home.”

The center offers various services including help applying for state and relief, as well as low-interest disaster loans offered by the federal Small Business Administration. The SBA has already approved $700,000 in home loans.

"These are loans directly from the U.S. Government, and they are at below-market interest rates," said SBA spokesman Bill Koontz. "Homeowners and renters can borrow money at 2 percent, with payments up to 30 years."

Staff can also provide referrals to other agencies for help, as well as accommodations to help people with disabilities apply.

According to FEMA, applicants for relief should bring the following information:

Social Security number
Address of the damaged primary residence
Description of the damage
Information about insurance coverage
A current contact telephone number
An address where they can receive mail
Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds

The Eagle River center will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, including Presidents Day on Feb. 18. Sunday hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additional disaster recovery centers are slated to open in Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage. The Anchorage center will offer more extensive services than the registration center currently operating at the Loussac Library.

Applications are also being taken online at www.ready.alaska.gov for state programs and www.disasterassistance.gov for FEMA. The state's assistance hotline is 1-855-445-7131, while FEMA's registration number is 800-621-3362.

Dave Level contributed information to this story.

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