Earthquake assistance for community organizations

A major disaster declaration was issued Jan. 31 for the state of Alaska following the Nov. 30 earthquake. It makes federal funding available to eligible affected faith-based organizations, community, volunteer and private nonprofit organizations in three jurisdictions: the Municipality of Anchorage and the boroughs of Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai Peninsula.

FEMA Public Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides grants through its Public Assistance program. These grants are designed to help communities, government organizations and certain nonprofits make repairs to utilities, public buildings, roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure damaged by the declared disaster event.

Public Assistance grants are funded by FEMA and administered by the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Who may be eligible

To be eligible, a private nonprofit must be legally responsible for ownership, maintenance and operation of an eligible facility that is accessible to the public. The private nonprofit must provide a critical service such as education, utility, medical or emergency service. In addition, some non-critical, essential social services may be eligible for federal Public Assistance.

Applicants for these grants must have state or IRS tax-exempt status, and their Requests for Public Assistance, or RPA, should be submitted by the April 1 deadline.

Community, volunteer, faith-based and private nonprofit organizations include:

Private elementary or secondary schools or higher education institutions

Hospitals and other medical treatment facilities

Utilities including water, sewer and electrical systems

Senior citizen and community centers or other community services

Food programs

Organizations providing educational enrichment activities

Custodial and day care services

Disability residential services

Assisted living and low-income housing

Homeless shelters and rehabilitation services; and

Performing and community arts centers

How to apply for Public Assistance grants

The state conducts applicant briefings to inform state, local and private nonprofit officials of the assistance available and how to apply for it. A Request for Public Assistance must be filed with the state by April 1.

To apply, contact the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Public Assistance Branch Chief Al Cavallo at 907-428-7051 or email

Deadline to apply

For the Alaska earthquake, the deadline to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) was extended to April 1. RPA forms can be accessed on the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s website:

U.S. Small Business Administration

Organizations that provide services of a non-critical, essential governmental nature must first apply for a low-interest disaster loan from SBA before being considered for a Public Assistance grant. Public Assistance grants may be able to provide assistance to organizations that provide non-critical, essential governmental services for repair or replacement costs that SBA loans do not cover.

SBA may lend private nonprofits up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage the next time.

For certain private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers economic injury disaster loans to help with meeting working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury disaster loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the nonprofit sustained any property damage.

The interest rate is 2.75 percent with terms up to 30 years. The deadline to apply for property damage is April 1. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Oct. 31.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email or visit SBA at

Mail completed applications to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

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