Assistance animals are not pets

Report
RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Rural Rental Housing Meeting
5/21/14
Reasonable Accommodations
Assistance Animals
Reasonable Accommodations =
• Changes, exceptions or adjustments in rules,
policies, practices, or services when such
accommodations may be necessary to afford a
disabled person equal opportunity to use and
enjoy a dwelling
• Sometimes referred to as “reasonable
modifications” if making physical changes
Applicable Laws on RD 515 Projects
• Fair Housing Act
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
– Both Laws require reasonable accommodations
– Section 504 imposes greater obligations including
Housing owners/managers providing and paying
for reasonable accommodations that involve
physical modifications
Reasonable Accommodations
• Who is disabled?
– Definition per Housing Act of 1949
» Is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite
duration
» Substantially impedes his or her ability to live
independently, and
» Is of such a nature that such disability could be improved
by more suitable housing conditions, or if such person has
a developmental disability as defined in section 102(7) of
Developmental Disability and Bill of Rights Act
– Definition per Fair Housing Act
» A physical or mental impairment which substantially
limits one or more major life activities; or
» A record of such an impairment, or
» Being regarded as having such an impairment
If No Accommodation Requested
• Housing Provider may ask of all applicants:
– Applicants ability to meet requirements of
tenancy
• …BUT can not make judgment if they are able to live
independently
– If a current illegal abuser or addict of controlled
substance
– If qualify for housing legally available on a priority
basis to person with a disability
• May not-
Verifying a Disability for
Accommodation
– ordinarily inquire as to nature and severity of disability
– request documentation on disability or disability related need if
disability is obvious or known and need is readily apparent or known
– request medical records
• May– Request info necessary to verify person meets disability definition (i.e.
SSI or Social Security Disability)
– Request description of needed accommodation
– Request info that shows relationship between disability and need for
accommodation
• Verification can come from the individual (SSI, SSDI or credible
statement), doctor, medical professional, peer support group, nonmedical service agency, or reliable third party in a position to know
about individuals disability
• For assistance animals, allowed to require verification to come from
professional medical or health care provider.
Reasonable Accommodations
• It is unlawful to refuse to
provide accommodation at the
borrowers expense that would
NOT:
1. cause undue financial or
administrative burden
2. fundamentally alter the nature
of the providers services
-Garbage example
Reasonable Accommodations (Cont’d)
• Ensure procedures in place for requesting,
documenting and responding to reasonable
accommodation requests
– Recommend requests and responses be in writing but
not required
• Ensure hearing impaired or vision impaired
receive assistance necessary to afford them
access to services (i.e. provide sign language
interpreter, large print)
• Even if discrimination not intended, possible Civil
Rights consequences.
• In this instance, the shower would not create a
financial or administrative burden.
• Providers should generally provide and pay for
requested alterations to a unit.
Can a request be denied?
• Only if………
– Request not made on behalf of a person with
disability
– No disability related need for accommodation
– Would impose an undue financial or
administrative burden on provider
– Fundamentally alter the nature of the providers
service
• Generally reasonable accommodations must
be made and paid for by owner/manager
Examples of Reasonable
Accommodations
• Install a ramp so that an individual who uses a
wheelchair can access a unit
• A landlord who does not allow reserved parking
spots makes an exception to this policy to
accommodate a disabled tenant who needs a
specific space that is close to their unit
• Add grab bars in bathroom
• Allow an assistance animal
at complex with no pets policy
Defining “reasonable”:
• The decision whether the requested accommodation is reasonable
or unreasonable, whether providing the accommodation would
cause an undue financial or administrative burden, or would cause
a fundamental alteration to the providers services lies with the
housing provider and would be for the housing provider to defend
should a Civil Rights complaint subsequently be filed. Housing
providers may wish to consult with their legal counsel prior to
denying a request.
– Case- by- case basis involving cost, financial resources, benefits to the
requester and alternative accommodations that would meet needs
• USDA will provide regulation guidance and facts but not opinions
(i.e. notify there is x amount in the reserve fund). It is not USDA’s
position to define reasonable for the housing provider.
• Requests for reasonable accommodations must be handled in
accordance with the management plan.
On to Assistance Animals….
Assistance Animals
• Reference HUD FHEO Notice FEHO-2013-01 dated
4/25/13
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Fair
Housing Act treat assistance animals the same
• Do not confuse 504/Fair Housing “Assistance
Animal” definition with ADA “Service Animal”
definition
– ADA definition applicable to areas of “public
accommodation” (i.e. rental office)
– ADA Service animals are only trained dogs (also
provision for miniature horse)
Terminology
• Various names given to these animals such as:
–
–
–
–
–
–
Assistance animals
Service animals
Support animals
Companion animals
Therapy animals
Emotional support animals
• For consistency HUD/DOJ uses “assistance animal” for
Fair Housing/504 applicability and “service animal” for
ADA applicability
• We will focus on “assistance animals” under Section
504/Fair Housing- applies to all RD 515 MFH Properties
Section 504/Fair Housing Assistance
Animals
• Assistance animals are not pets
• Animal that works, provides assistance or
performs tasks for the benefit of a person with
a disability, or provides emotional support
that alleviates symptoms
Section 504/Fair Housing Assistance
Animals (Cont’d)
• Animals perform disability related functions
• Assistance animals under Fair Housing/Section
504 can be animals other than just dogs
• Animals do not have to be trained or certified
Section 504/Fair Housing Assistance
Animals (Cont’d)
• Animals perform many disability related
functions such as:
 Guide blind or low vision
individuals
 Alert individuals who are deaf
or hard of hearing to sounds
 Provide emotional support to
persons with disabilities who
have a disability-related need
for such support
 Provide rescue or protection
assistance
 Alerting of impending
seizures
 Fetching items
 Pulling a wheelchair
Housing provider must consider:
• Does person seeking to use and live with
animal have a disability
• Does the person have a disability-related need
for an assistance animal?
Verifying a Disability for an Assistance
Animal
• May not– ordinarily inquire as to nature and severity of disability
– request documentation on disability or disability related need if
disability is obvious or known and need is readily apparent or known
– Request medical records or detailed/extensive information about
physical or mental impairments
• May– Request info necessary to verify person meets disability definition (i.e.
SSI or Social Security Disability)
– Request description of needed accommodation
– Request info that shows relationship between disability and need for
accommodation
• For assistance animals, allowed to require verification to come from
professional medical or health care provider.
Can Assistance Animal be Denied?
• Only if….
– Person doesn’t have a disability or disability-related need
– Animal causes an undue financial or administrative burden
on the housing providers services
– Animal would cause a fundamental alteration to the
housing providers services
– Animal poses a direct threat to health/safety of others that
cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable
accommodation
– Animal would cause substantial physical damage to the
property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated
by another reasonable accommodation
Can Assistance Animal be Denied?
(Cont’d)
• Health/Safety and Damage determination
must be based on individualized assessment
relying on objective evidence about actual
conduct of that specific animal
– Not on speculation or evidence of other animals
• Breed, size and weight limitations may not be
applied to an assistance animal
• Cannot automatically limit number of animalscase-by-case
Pet/Assistance Animal Policies
• No fees related to having pets can be applied to
assistance animals
– Pet deposits, liability insurance, automatic fumigation
requirement, etc.
• Rules can only be made for assistance animals
regarding health/safety/nuisance/damages such as:
– Required vaccination records
– Proper waste disposal
– Quiet enjoyment
• Resident can be held liable for damages animal causes
Pet/Assistance Animal Policies (Cont’d)
• Typically regular rules that cover health,
safety, nuisance/quiet enjoyment, damages
which apply to everyone can be applicable to
assistance animal issues without need for
separate policy
• Specific Assistance Animal Policies can be
created for a project as long as they only cover
health, safety, nuisance, damages
Enforcement Update
HADCO Settles on Service Animal Issue
The Housing Authority of Douglas County (HADCO) will pay nearly $100,000 to a family which had
been wrongly evicted for keeping a service dog in its Reedsport apartment according to Oregon
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Raynie Case, whose daughter suffered from life-threatening juvenile diabetes, filed a 2009 disability
discrimination complaint with Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries. She alleged that the property
manager at Forest Village Apartments demanded she remove a puppy which was in training to help her
identify, by scent, dangerous dips in her daughter's blood-sugar levels. "Certain kinds of dogs can be
trained to detect and alert when a diabetic's blood sugar levels are dangerously low," the Department of
Justice noted in a news release. "Ms. Case obtained a service puppy to live with them while being
trained to detect these critical fluctuations. "The girl's previous service dog, Hunter, had been retired
after it was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The property manager at the housing authority's Forest Village Apartments, in Reedsport, demanded
that Case remove the dog. When Case refused, the manager began eviction proceedings. This was
followed by what the Department of Justice described as repeated harassment by on-site maintenance
staffers, who questioned the dog's validity as a service animal. The dog did not bond with the girl
because of stress in the home, and Case was unable to obtain a replacement, the Department of Justice
reported. HADCO, which runs the 24-unit Forest Village complex, agreed to pay $167,000 in damages,
which included nearly $100,000 to the Case family and their attorney. HADCO also agreed to pay civil
penalties and attorneys' fees to the Department of Justice and Bureau of Labor and
Industries. Employees of the housing authority will be required to attend trainings focused on state and
federal fair housing discrimination law.
Unusual Therapy and Service Animals
• http://photos.msn.com/slideshow/healthy%2
0living/unusual-therapy-and-serviceanimals/23lszbpn
Carissa Boulden, 10, kisses
her horse Princess as it
stands on her bed at her
family home. Princess, a
Shetland pony, is given
free run of the suburban
Sydney house, eats with
her owners at meal times
and drinks beer every
Sunday, but also provides
therapy for Carissa, who
suffers from cerebral
palsy.
James Eggers carries his assistance parrot Sadie
in a special backpack built around her cage. He
was able to overcome his bipolar disorder,
overwhelming rage, and “homicidal feelings”
thanks to his parrot. When Sadie senses Eggers
is growing angry, she calms him by saying, “Its ok
Jim. Calm down , Jim. You’ll be alright Jim. I'm
here, Jim”, a refrain she picked up after hearing
him repeat it to himself following one of his
outbursts. Eggers has only had one episode
since he acquired Sadie- on a day he left her at
home.
Craig, who is quadriplegic, shares his
dinner with Minnie, a capuchin monkey
in La Habra, Calif. Helping Hands trains
capuchin monkeys to help humans with
simple tasks.
Aila, a 10-year-old capuchin monkey,
retrieves a compact disc from inside
a closed CD player for Travis Roy,
who is quadriplegic, at the 'Helping
Hands: Monkey Helpers for the
Disabled' organization's 'monkey
college' facility in Boston.
Assistance monkey, Richard, who helps her overcome agoraphobia (anxiety disorder in
which a person fears and often avoids places or situations that might cause panic).
Hospice patient Helen Kress feeds
Pisco, a 13-year-old therapy llama,
during his visit to the Hospice of
Saint John in Lakewood, Colo. The
llama visits the hospice each
month as part of an animal
therapy program designed to
increase happiness, decrease
loneliness and calm terminally ill
patients.
Therapy animals are most
commonly dogs. Misty, a standard
poodle, encourages a man
recovering from a recent stroke to
reach out and pet her.
Cosmie Silfa and his therapy
iguana Skippy. Silfa experiences
depression and his pet iguana,
Skippy, helps him to maintain a
stable mood, and provides
companionship and motivation
in daily life.
Although most commonly
visited by therapy dogs,
hospitals across the nation
are beginning to welcome
other species. This child is
comforted during his
hospital stay by a brown
tabby therapy cat called
Dakota.
Mona Ramouni as she rides a
bus to work with her guide
horse, Cali, in Lincoln Park,
Mich. Ramouni, 30, went blind
shortly after birth. Growing up
in Detroit, she could never get a
dog because her devout Muslim
family considered dogs to be
unclean.
Mona Ramouni and her guide
horse Cali attend class at
Michigan State University in
Lansing, Mich.
Some therapy animals often
have unique means of
transport and require special
accommodations during
their visits. Outlaw, a therapy
guinea pig, is transported in
a basket during his visits, and
his on-board miniature fan
helps cool him down on
breaks between petting
sessions.
Additional Training Resources
• Illinois Dept. of Human Rights Training Videos
on Disabilities and Fair Housing
– http://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/FilingaCharge/Pages
/Fair_Housing_Videos.aspx
• HUD Fair Housing Training Webinar 8/20/14
– http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states
/shared/working/r10/fh/training
• Questions on Reasonable Accommodations or
Assistance Animals?
RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Rob Loschen
State Civil Rights Manager
(217) 403-6241
[email protected]

similar documents