The Northampton Housing Authority is a public agency that provides low rent housing to eligible families including families with children, elderly families, disabled families, and single people. PHA is not permitted to discriminate against applicants on the basis of their race, religion, sex, color, national origin, age, disability or familial status.
In addition, PHA has a legal obligation to provide “reasonable accommodations” to applicants if they or any family members have a disability. A reasonable accommodation is a structural change a PHA can make to its units or common areas, or a modification of a rule, policy, procedure, or service, that will assist an otherwise eligible applicant or resident with a disability to make effective use of a PHA’s programs.
Examples of reasonable accommodations would include:
- Making alterations to a PHA unit so it could be used by a family member with a wheelchair;
- Adding or altering unit features so they may be used by a family member with a disability;
- Installing strobe type flashing light smoke detectors in an apartment for a family with a hearing impaired member;
- Permitting a family to have a large dog to assist a family member with a disability in a PHA family development where the size of dogs is usually limited;
- Making large type documents, Braille documents, cassettes or a reader available to an applicant with a vision impairment during the application process;
- Making a sign language interpreter available to an applicant with a hearing impairment during the interview or meetings with PHA staff;
- Permitting an outside agency or individual to assist an applicant with a disability to meet the PHA’s applicant screening criteria.
An applicant family that has a member with a disability must still be able to meet essential obligations of tenancy. They must be able to pay rent, to care for their apartment, to report required information to the Housing Authority, to avoid disturbing their neighbors, etc., but there is no requirement that they be able to do these things without assistance.
If you or a member of your family have a disability and think you might need or want a reasonable accommodation, you may request it at any time in the application process or at any time you need an accommodation. This is up to you. If you would prefer not to discuss your situation with the housing authority, that is your right.