A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) outlines how HUD should improve its data collection to better understand requests for reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and how PHAs are meeting these requests across the Public Housing, Voucher, and PBRA programs. As part of this report, GAO conducted a survey of PHAs to determine the amount of data that exists at the PHA level.
The report estimated that the majority of PHAs (84%) are collecting information on households’ accessibility needs across both the Voucher and Public Housing programs. Systemically tracking these requests for accommodation is currently challenging for HUD because there exists no standard definition of what an “accessibility feature” is. Generally, accessibility features could include things like entry ramps, grab bars in bathrooms, widened doorways, and other structural modifications to meet the needs of residents living with disabilities.
The report also noted that HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity has no comprehensive strategy for overseeing compliance with requests for reasonable accommodation. GAO recommended HUD systematically collect information on reasonable accommodations while not imposing undue administrative burdens on PHAs.