What is a Person with a Disability?
The phrase "person with a disability" shall have the same meaning as the term "persons with handicaps" under 24 C.F.R. Section 8.3, as follows: "Person with a disability" means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions. You can also be considered a person with a disability if you have a record of a physical or mental impairment or people regard you as having such an impairment. Major life functions include, but are not limited to, the ability to walk, see, hear, breathe, read or care for yourself.
Under some circumstances alcoholism or a history of drug use may be considered a disability. Current users of illegal drugs are not considered persons with disabilities.
What Is a "Reasonable Accommodation"?
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or change that can be made to a dwelling unit or to HABC's policies, practices or services which will allow a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to participate in HABC's programs and services. A reasonable accommodation would also allow an otherwise eligible person with a disability to meet HABC's essential requirements of tenancy.
Any accommodation considered by HABC shall not result in an undue financial or administrative burden or create a fundamental change in a program. For example it might be reasonable to lower the cabinets for someone in a wheelchair, put grab bars in the bathroom for someone with a mobility impairment, or put in a fire alarm that flashes for someone who has a hearing impairment. It might also be reasonable to allow a person with a mental disability to have rent payments made by a third party. It would not be reasonable to prevent children from using the playground because the noise bothers a person with a disability or to provide a housekeeper to a resident with a disability at HABC's expense.
If HABC determines that the requested accommodation would result in an undue financial or administrative burden or create a fundamental change in a program, HABC will offer another accommodation that would not result in a financial or administrative burden.
How do I Apply For A "Reasonable Accommodation"?
Applicants and Residents may apply for a reasonable accommodation for themselves or for a household member.
If You Are Applying For Housing:
All applicants must meet the basic qualifications for housing by HABC. In other words, an applicant must meet the income guidelines, pass screening of HABC eligibility criteria, and be able to meet and agree to abide by the provisions of the lease.
If you are an applicant for public housing or for a voucher and you want to make a reasonable accommodation request regarding your housing needs because you or a household member has disability or a change in a disability, please log into the applicant portal, which is http://baltimore.applicants4housing.com, create an applicant profile and then update your application to indicate your reasonable accommodation request. Applicants for public housing who need assistance may contact HABC’s Admissions and Leasing Office at 410-396-3225 or, if you are deaf or hard of hearing, through the Maryland Relay System at 711. Voucher applicants who need assistance may contact the Customer Relations Office at 443-984-2200 or 443-984-2222 or, if you are deaf or hard of hearing, through the Maryland Relay System at 711.
If You Are An HABC Resident or Participant in the HABC Voucher Program:
Reasonable Accommodation Request Forms are available at the management office of the housing development where you live, from the Housing Choice Voucher Office, at the 504 Coordination Office, and may be downloaded from this website. The 504 Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring HABC's compliance with the agency's Reasonable Accommodation Policy. The 504 Coordination Office is located at 417 E. Fayette Street, 13th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The Housing Choice Voucher Program Office is located at 1225 W. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223.
You may also request the form by calling the housing management office at your development or you may call the 504 Coordination Office at 443-984-1792 or the Housing Choice Voucher Program Office at 443-984-2222. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you call using the Maryland Relay System (dial 711). A copy of the form may be mailed to you. If you need assistance in completing the form, ask the management staff at your development (public housing residents) or the Housing Choice Voucher Program Office (voucher participants) for assistance or call the 504 Coordination Office. If needed, the management staff will provide a reader or sign language interpreter. If you are applying for a reasonable accommodation for a family member, you will be asked questions about which family member has a disability and what kind of accommodation is requested.
You may be asked to provide confirmation about your need for the requested accommodation from a medical professional or qualified service provider. The medical professional or qualified service provider may be asked to verify that you have a disability and explain how the accommodation you have requested will be effective in accommodating your disability. It is important that you meet any deadlines for requests for information. Failure to respond in a timely manner may result in your request being delayed or denied. If you need more time to respond, let your management office, the Admissions and Leasing Office (public housing), the Housing Choice Voucher Program Office or the 504 Coordination Office know. HABC may ask questions pertaining to your requested accommodation. However, HABC will not ask questions regarding your medical history or medical diagnosis and will not ask for your medical records.
During the process of evaluating your request, you or HABC staff may request a meeting to discuss the requested accommodation. The meeting will be held at a location that is accessible to you. You may have a friend or advocate with you at the meeting. You may also request a reader or sign language interpreter and one will be provided by the HABC. If you are unable to come to an office, the meeting may be held by telephone or, if you are a resident, the meeting may be held at your home.
You may submit the request in writing, orally, or use another equally effective means of communication to request the accommodation. Upon receiving the request, HABC will respond to the request within twenty (20) business days to let you know the request has been received and if additional information is needed to process your request. "Business days" mean those days of the week that do not include Saturdays, Sundays and holidays observed by HABC. HABC will approve or deny the request within thirty (30) business days after receiving all needed information and documentation needed to make a decision. Exceptions to the 30-day period for notification of HABC's decision on the request should be provided to the resident in writing setting forth the reasons for the delay.
Who Can I Go To If I Have Questions?
You may call HABC's 504 Coordination Office at anytime in the process. If you have questions about information that is requested from you or, if you don't understand the procedures or you are not sure what kind of accommodation might be available for your situation, you should call the 504 Coordination Office at 443-984-1792. Please remember that if you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may use the Maryland Relay System by calling 711. The 504 Coordination Office can help determine what kind of accommodation is reasonable and will meet your needs.
Some Things To Keep In Mind
HABC considers each request for a reasonable accommodation as a separate request. Just because one person had a requested accommodation approved does not mean that all requests for that type of accommodation will be approved. The decision will be made on a case by case basis with the understanding that each person's needs and circumstances are unique.
HABC may suggest an alternate accommodation from the one you requested. The decision on whether an accommodation is approved will be based on:
• If the person requesting the reasonable accommodation does not have an obvious disability, whether HABC receives verification from a healthcare provider that the person has a disability.
• If the relationship between the disability and the requested reasonable accommodation is not obvious, whether a verification from a healthcare provider verifies that the requested reasonable accommodation will address the disability.
• Whether the requested reasonable accommodation will result in an undue financial and administrative burden.
• Whether the requested reasonable accommodation involves a fundamental change to the HABC housing program.
Whether your request for reasonable accommodation is approved or not, you must follow the provisions of your lease. You must pay your rent, not disturb your neighbors and not engage in criminal activity.
If at any time you feel your request is not being processed appropriately, you have the right to file a complaint with the HABC's 504 Coordination Office. You may also obtain a copy of the Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures from the 504 Coordination Office or you may download it here. Residents may obtain a copy of the policy from their Housing Managers.
Additionally, you have the right to seek assistance from or, if you feel you have been the victim of discrimination, file a complaint with the following agencies:
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA. 19107-3380
Telephone: 1-800-669-9777 or 1-800-955-2232
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights
6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement
7 E. Redwood Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Maryland Relay System 711
For additional information, please call 443-984-1792