Reasonable Accommodation

Summary of Reasonable Accommodation 

It is the policy of the Department of Housing Services (DHS) to provide reasonable accommodation for applicants and participants with disabilities where reasonable accommodation is needed to provide an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the housing. 

What is a person with a disability?

A person with a disability is an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions.

You may also be considered disabled if you have a record of a physical or mental impairment or people regard you as having such impairment.  A physical impairment is a disorder or condition that affects one or more body systems. A physical impairment can be caused by illness, disease, a birth defect, injury, age or anything else which disrupts a person’s physical ability to function. Some examples of physical disabilities are blindness, hearing loss, or inability to walk.

A mental impairment is a mental, psychiatric or psychological disorder. Some examples are mental illness, mental retardation or specific learning disabilities.

Under DHS policy, you may be considered a person with a disability if your physical or mental condition causes substantial difficulty in performing a major life function. Major life functions include the ability to walk, see, hear, breathe, think, 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 disabled.

What is a “reasonable accommodation?"

A reasonable accommodation is a change which can be made to allow a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to take advantage of DHS housing or programs. Any accommodation considered by the DHS cannot result in an undue financial or administrative burden or create a fundamental change in a program.

For example, in the public housing program, it might be reasonable to install an access ramp 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 someone or to provide a resident with a housekeeper at DHS expense.

How do I apply for a “reasonable accommodation?"

To apply for a reasonable accommodation, complete a Reasonable Accommodation Request form.

If you need assistance in completing the form, ask a DHS staff member for help. If necessary, DHS may provide a reader or sign language interpreter.

You may be asked to provide confirmation about your disability from a medical professional or qualified service provider. The medical professional or qualified service provider may also be asked to certify and explain how the accommodation you have requested is related to your disability and 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, contact the staff person who have been working with.

How is my request processed?

DHS staff will review your request for reasonable accommodation. If additional information is needed, you will receive a written request. You should be careful to follow the deadlines in the letter. If you have problems or questions, you should call your initial contact person.

The decision on your request will be made by an appropriate DHS staff person. Whether your request is approved or denied, you will be notified in writing.

Some things to keep in mind

  • The DHS considers each request for reasonable accommodation as a separate request. Just because one person had a change approved does not mean that all requests for that type of change 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.
  • The DHS may suggest an alternate accommodation from the one you request. The decision on whether an accommodation is approved will be based on reasonable cost and confidence that the accommodation will be effective in reducing the barriers to equal housing opportunity and on whether or not it involves a fundamental change to the DHS housing program or creates an undue financial or administrative burden.
  • If your request is approved, the DHS may re-verify your continued need for the accommodation at your annual review.

Where can I get a Reasonable Accommodation Request form?

You may download the form here.

For more detailed information, please refer to the Department of Housing Services’ Reasonable Accommodation Policy.

 

The Department's Policy of Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability

The Washington County Department of Housing Services (DHS) complies with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). DHS will comply with any legislation protecting the individual rights of tenants, applicants, and/or staff that may subsequently be enacted.

The persons listed below have been designated to coordinate the Agency's compliance with the non-discrimination requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Affordable and Public Housing Programs:
Adell Potter, Senior Management Analyst
Washington County Department of Housing Services
111 NE Lincoln Street, Suite 200-L
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

Voucher Programs:
Gary Calvert, Asset Manager
Washington County Department of Housing Services
111 NE Lincoln Street, Suite 200-L
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124