Families searching for housing who may not be able to afford a security deposit can apply for help from FEMA.

This provides an opportunity for those staying in hotels and motels to move into a more permanent home, according to a release from the state Tuesday.

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,” Gov. Chris Christie said.

Up to one month of rental funds can be used for a security deposit, and will not be due back to FEMA at the end of the lease. FEMA provides an initial grant of two months of rent money, but all recipients may apply for additional funding if needed.

FEMA will not reimburse a security deposit that has already been paid, but upon providing proof of payment, a renter can request additional money.

Security deposits paid with FEMA money can cover damage by people or pets, provided they are clearly identified on the lease, according to the release.

More than 2,000 rentals are listed on the New Jersey Housing Resource Center at www.njhrc.gov where people can select Temporary Housing Due to Hurricane Sandy from the menu of options. Households can also search by individual communities to find convenient housing. People can also find a place to rent at www.fema.gov/housingportal.

FEMA rental assistance amounts are based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Market Rent rate.