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Housing Toolkit:


Modifications and accommodations

A common myth about housing is that a person needs to move if it becomes difficult to navigate the home or the home isn't accessible. In fact, however, assistive technology and reasonable accommodations and modifications can often help someone adapt their current home to better meet their needs.

Assistive technology
Assistive technology is a general term for devices that help people with disabilities carry out daily activities. Minnesota's STAR Program is a great resource to help people learn about assistive devices. The mission of the STAR Program is to help all Minnesotans with disabilities gain access to and acquire the assistive technology they need to live, learn, work and play.

Reasonable accommodations
If a person's physical environment needs to be modified to accommodate accessibility, they can request a reasonable accommodation — a change or exception to a rule, policy, practice or service that would allow a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling (including public and common use spaces). The Americans with Disabilities Act often refers to these types of accommodations as modifications.

Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are required to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, and allow people with disabilities to make reasonable modifications to existing premises at their own expense.

Examples of reasonable accommodations in housing include:

  • Assigning an accessible parking space for a person with a mobility impairment
  • Allowing a tenant to transfer to a ground-floor unit
  • Adjusting a rent payment schedule to coincide with the timing of a person's income assistance
  • Adding a grab bar to a tenant's bathroom
  • Allowing an applicant to submit a housing application in a different way
  • Allowing an assistance animal in a "no pets" building for a person who is deaf or blind or has seizures or a mental disability

Housing Benefits 101 offers an interactive tool in My Vault that can help write a letter for a reasonable accommodation in housing. 

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