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 need an accommodation in order to apply for HABC housing or vouchers, you may request the needed services during the application process, by advising the Housing Application Office staff assigned to work with you that you a need an accommodation. Some examples of the types of accommodation that might be needed include a sign language interpreter or having the application materials read to you. You may also bring a representative or advocate with you to assist you.

If you need other types of accommodations such as a modified unit or an accessible feature, you may indicate the accommodation needed on the housing application form. A Housing Application Office staff member is also available to assist you in completing the housing application. If you are unable to come into the office, an application form may be mailed to you. Applications may be obtained from the Customer Relations Office at 1225 W. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21223. You may also call 410-396-3225 for the public housing program or 410-984-2222 for the voucher program. If you have a hearing impairment, you may use the Maryland Relay System 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 711.

If You Are A Housing Authority of Baltimore City Resident:

Reasonable Accommodation Request Forms are available at the housing development where you live, 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, Suite 1305, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. 

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 you may use the Maryland Relay System. 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 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 what family member has a disability and which kind of accommodation is requested.

You will 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 certify 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 Housing Application Office or the 504 Coordination Office know. HABC may ask questions pertaining to your requested accommodation. HABC will not however, ask questions regarding the nature of your disability.

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, housing management and/or the 504 Coordination Office will respond to the request within twenty (20) business days. "Business days" mean those days of the week that do not include Saturdays, Sundays and holidays observed by HABC. HABC will consent to or deny the request within thirty (30) business days after receiving all needed information and documentation from the resident. 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 have a hearing impairment, you may use the Maryland Relay System 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 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:

  • Whether HABC receives verification from a health provides that the person has a disability. If the person requesting the reasonable accommodation does not have an obvious disability. 
  • Whether a verification from a health provider supports that the requested reasonable accommodation will address the disability. If the relationship between the disability and the requested reasonable accommodation is not obvious.
  • 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.

Other Remedies

If at anytime 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 Housing Application Office, 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:

FHEO Intake
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 Civic Rights
6 St. Paul Street 
9th Floor 
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 
Telephone: 410-767-8600 
TTY: 410-333-1737

Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement
7 E. Redwood Street
9th Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 
Telephone: 410-396-3141 
Maryland Relay System 711

Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. 
2450 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218 
Telephone: 410-243-4400 
Maryland Relay System 711

For additional information, please call 443-984-1792.