A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces.
A reasonable modification is a structural change made to existing premises, occupied or to be occupied by a person with a disability, in order to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises. Reasonable modifications can include structural changes to interiors and exteriors of dwellings and to common and public use areas.
The Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) of Montgomery County refers to all categories of reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications jointly as simply reasonable accommodations. In so doing, HOC affirms its commitment to assuring equal access to Agency services, programs, and activities for persons with disabilities.
It is HOC’s policy to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified person with a disability. If an individual with a disability requires an accommodation, such as an accessible feature added to a unit or an exception or modification to an HOC policy, HOC will provide the accommodation as long as it will not result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or an undue financial burden to the Agency. In all situations, HOC staff will work with the participant family to discuss available options so that some, if not all, disability-related needs may be met for disabled individuals participating in the Agency’s programming.
HOW TO MAKE A REQUEST
A resident or applicant household member with a disability must first request the specific change to a policy or unit as an accommodation of his/her disability by completing HOC’s Request for Reasonable Accommodation form. The form can be found here or below.
The person making the request must first certify (if apparent) or verify (if not apparent) that they are a person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition, as follows:
- Individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- Individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment; or
- Individuals with a record of such an impairment.
(Note: This is not the same as the HUD definition used for purposes of determining allowances)
Once HOC confirms a person’s status as a qualified individual with a disability, the individual must provide the health provider verification of the relationship (nexus) between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability. For this purpose, a health provider is a medical doctor, social worker, therapist, caseworker, or some other third-party health provider. This individual is familiar with the individual for whom the request is submitted and can provide written verification that the individual needs the specific accommodation(s).
If HOC finds that the requested accommodation creates an undue administrative and/or financial burden, HOC will either deny the request or present an alternate accommodation that will still meet the needs of the disabled individual. An undue administrative burden is one that requires a fundamental alteration of the essential functions of HOC (e.g., waiving a family obligation). An undue financial burden considers the available resources of the Agency as a whole, where the requested accommodation would impose a severe financial hardship on HOC.
HOC will provide a written decision to the individual requesting the accommodation within 30 days of receipt, provided that the request is complete. Incomplete requests will take longer to process depending on the information lacking at the time of initial submission. If a person is denied the accommodation requested or feels that the alternative suggestions are inadequate, they may request an informal hearing to appeal HOC’s decision.