The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s request to help transition Hurricane Sandy displaced residents from hotels and motels and into more permanent housing solutions as quickly as possible, by using FEMA funds to pay for security deposits that would be normally be required when moving into apartments or other rental dwellings. The announcement was made on Jan. 15, 2013,
Households receiving FEMA rental assistance can utilize up to one month of their rental allotment for a security deposit and not have to give it back to FEMA at the end of the lease. In general, FEMA provides an initial grant of two months of rent money to households that have been displaced due to Hurricane Sandy, but all households that receive FEMA rental assistance may ask for additional funding if they need it. They will need to show their lease and all receipts for rent and security deposits. FEMA rent money cannot be used to pay for telephone or television service or utilities.
“I want to thank FEMA for revising its policy to allow more flexibility in how their rental assistance is used for New Jerseyans displaced by Super storm Sandy,” said Governor Chris Christie. “This change is enormously important because it assists low- to moderate-income families, who were hit hard by Sandy and cannot afford security deposits on their own, to move out of hotels and motels and into more stable housing units such as apartments and condominiums.”
If households have already paid a security deposit with their own money, FEMA is unable to provide reimbursement. However, if further rental assistance is needed, people can show the security deposit receipt to FEMA to support their request for additional rent money. Security deposits paid with FEMA money can cover damage by people or pets, provided they are clearly identified on the lease.