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People with Disabilities Have the Right to Reasonable Modifications in the Public Housing Application Process


On May 1, 2023, the Arizona Public Housing Authority (APHA) began accepting applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list for Yavapai County. Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023, 5:00 PM MST. APHA is asking for individuals to apply online.

However, applicants with disabilities may sometimes have difficulty using an online application. As a public entity, APHA is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide individuals with disabilities reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures in the application process for public housing benefits.

APHA is also required by the ADA to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, members of the public, and companions with disabilities are as effective as communications with others during the public housing application process. As a part of the duty to provide effective communication, the ADA requires APHA to provide the auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with persons with disabilities. Auxiliary aids and services include effective methods of making written and/or verbal information available to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision or have other communication difficulties due to a disability.

The following are a few examples of reasonable modifications that applicants with disabilities can ask for to ensure that the application process is accessible:

  • Providing applications in Braille, large print, or other formats.
  • Providing assistance with an ASL interpreter for persons who are Deaf and whose first and primary language is ASL.
  • Getting assistance if the online version has accessibility issues.
  • Allowing paper applications and allowing those applications to be dropped off at the APHA by a friend, family member, advocate, or service provider.
  • Allowing additional time to submit an application.
  • Visiting a shelter, hotel/motel, or other temporary living site in order to allow an applicant to complete the application.
  • Allowing applications to be mailed/faxed or allowing a proxy to stand in line for an applicant.
  • Mailing out application forms in advance to provide people who are chronically homeless sufficient time to apply.
  • Accepting preliminary applications by telephone.
  • Allowing homeless and human service agencies to distribute copies of the application to the people with whom they work.
  • Offering assistance in completing the applications to applicants who may have difficulty writing or understanding what information is needed.
  • Making sure the application states that the APHA provides reasonable modifications and explains the process to request one
  • Allowing a secondary contact person to be listed on the application and sending all APHA correspondence to both.
  • Allowing an application discarded during the waiting list update process to be reinstated to the list in its original position.
  • Making exceptions to screening criteria regarding criminal histories, past rental histories, or credit histories based on mitigating circumstances. (24 CFR 982.553(2)(ii)(C) and PIH Notice 2015-19)
  • Providing extra time to gather documentation of eligibility; and
  • Accepting alternative forms of documentation for proof of age, identity, or social security number.

There may be other reasonable modifications that are necessary to provide persons with disabilities access to the application process. APHA has a duty to provide reasonable modifications based upon the individualized needs of each applicant with a disability.

If you need a reasonable modification or do not have Internet access to complete the online application, please call APHA at 1-866-890-0177 for assistance Monday – Friday between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

If you have been discriminated against by a public housing authority in the application process, you can find information about filing an ADA complaint. You can also make an intake with DRAZ. To make an intake, you can call DRAZ’s intake line at 602-274-6287 (Phoenix area) or 800-927-2260 (toll free), or submit an intake online.

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