HACA asks all applicants and participants, in writing, if they need any type of accommodations at the time of application, reexamination, and on notices of adverse action by HACA, by including the following language:
“If you or anyone in your family is a person with disabilities, and you require a specific accommodation in order to fully utilize our programs and services, please contact the housing authority.”
A person with a disability may require special accommodations in order to have equal access to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) or to the Public Housing Program. The types of reasonable accommodations HACA can provide include changes, exceptions, or adjustments to a rule, policy, practice, or service.
Requests for accommodations are considered reasonable if they don't create an undue financial and administrative burden for HACA, or result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the programs or services that HACA offers.
Types of Reasonable Accommodations
When needed, HACA modifies normal procedures to accommodate the needs of a person with disabilities. Examples include:
- Permitting applications and reexaminations to be completed by mail;
- Conducting home visits;
- Using higher payment standards (either within the acceptable range or with HUD approval of a payment standard outside HACA range) if HACA determines this is necessary to enable a person with disabilities to obtain a suitable housing unit;
- Providing time extensions for locating a unit when necessary because of lack of availability of accessible units or special challenges of the family in seeking a unit;
- Permitting an authorized designee or advocate to participate in the application or certification process and any other meetings with HACA staff; and
- Displaying posters and other housing information in locations throughout HACA's office in such a manner as to be easily readable from a wheelchair.
Request for an Accommodation
If an applicant or participant indicates that an exception, change, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service is needed because of a disability, HACA treats the information as a request for a reasonable accommodation, even if no formal request is made.
The family must explain what type of accommodation is needed to provide the person with the disability full access to HACA’s programs and services. If the need for the accommodation is not readily apparent or known to HACA, the family must explain the relationship between the requested accommodation and the disability. There must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.
HACA encourages applicants and participants to make their request in writing using a reasonable accommodation request form. However, HACA will consider the accommodation any time the family indicates that an accommodation is needed whether or not a formal written request is submitted.
Before providing an accommodation, HACA must determine that the person meets the definition of a person with a disability, and that the accommodation will enhance the family’s access to HACA’s programs and services.
If a person’s disability is obvious, or otherwise known to HACA, and if the need for the requested accommodation is also readily apparent or known, no further verification will be required.
If a family indicates that an accommodation is required for a disability that is not obvious or otherwise known to HACA, HACA must verify that the person meets the definition of a person with a disability, and that the limitations imposed by the disability require the requested accommodation. To do so, HACA must obtain third-party verification from an individual identified by the family who is competent to make the determination. A doctor or other medical professional, a peer support group, a non-medical service agency, or a reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability may provide verification of a disability. HACA will request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability-related need for the accommodation. HACA will not inquire about the nature or extent of any disability.
Approval or Denial of a Requested Accommodation
HACA will approve a request for an accommodation if the following three conditions are met:
- The request was made by or on behalf of a person with a disability
- There is a disability-related need for the accommodation.
- The requested accommodation is reasonable, meaning it would not impose an undue financial and administrative burden on HACA, or fundamentally alter the nature of HACA’s program operations.
Before making a determination whether to approve the request, HACA may enter into discussion and negotiation with the family, request more information from the family, or may require the family to sign a consent form so that HACA may verify the need for the requested accommodation.
If HACA denies a request for an accommodation because it is not reasonable (it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden or fundamentally alter the nature of HACA’s operations), HACA will discuss with the family whether an alternative accommodation could effectively address the family’s disability-related needs without a fundamental alteration to the HCV program and without imposing an undue financial and administrative burden.