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RULE §1.1Reasonable Accommodation Requests to the Department

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish the procedures by which a Requestor may ask that a Reasonable Accommodation is made to the Department. For rules governing the handling of reasonable accommodation requests and responsibilities of entities receiving funds or resources from the Department see Subchapter B, §1.204 of this Chapter, relating to Reasonable Accommodations. This rule is statutorily authorized by Tex. Gov't Code, 2306.066(e), which requires the Executive Director to prepare a written plan to provide persons with disabilities an opportunity to participate in the Department's programs, and in accordance with the Fair Housing Act, and other federal and state civil rights laws.

(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Board--The Governing Board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

  (2) Director or Program Manager--Department staff member supervising the division or area of a division containing the program for which a Reasonable Accommodation is being requested.

  (3) Disability--A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or having a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. Included in this meaning is the term handicap as defined in the Fair Housing Act, or the term disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  (4) Fair Housing Act--Fair Housing Act of 1968, also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

  (5) Reasonable Accommodation--An accommodation and/or modification that is an alteration, change, exception, or adjustment to a program, policy, service, building, or dwelling unit, that will allow a qualified person with a Disability to:

    (A) Participate fully in a program;

    (B) Take advantage of a service;

    (C) Live in a dwelling; or

    (D) Use and enjoy a dwelling.

  (6) Requestor--Includes applicants, members of the public, clients of Department programs, program participants, or their representatives.

  (7) Section 504--Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

(c) Procedures.

  (1) The Requestor of the Reasonable Accommodation shall submit a request to the Division Manager or Director or their designee. A request does not have to be in writing. A request can be made in a face-to-face conversation with a Division Manager or Director or their designee, or using any other method of communication. A request is any communication in which an individual clearly asks or states that they need the Department to provide or to change something because of a Disability.

  (2) The request, whether oral or written, must contain, at minimum:

    (A) The Department program or procedure for which an accommodation is being requested;

    (B) Household information to include name, address, phone number and email address, if available;

    (C) Description of the Reasonable Accommodation being requested; and

    (D) Reason the Reasonable Accommodation is necessary.

    (E) In the case of oral requests, the Division Manager or Director will create a written summary of the request.

  (3) The Division Director may coordinate with the Department's Fair Housing subject matter experts as needed. The supervising Director may ask for additional information from the Requestor. Staff should address Reasonable Accommodations requests promptly. If making the requested Reasonable Accommodation would require the Department to incur an expense, the Division Director will first confirm that the Reasonable Accommodation expense will not cause the Division to exceed their approved budget or, if additional measures beyond those within budget are required, that they are promptly considered and a compliant decision made. Upon having the applicable information, the Division Director or Manager and Fair Housing subject matter experts, as needed, will determine:

    (A) If the proposed Reasonable Accommodation is covered under Section 504 and/or the Fair Housing Act, or any other federal or state law; and

    (B) Whether to approve the request, or recommend to the Executive Director an alternative Reasonable Accommodation or denial. Any approval that would require Board action will first be presented to the Executive Director.

  (4) If not approved as requested or if the approval requires Board action, the request and recommendation will then be sent to the Executive Director or their designee, resulting in one of the following steps:

    (A) The Executive Director adopts an alternative Reasonable Accommodation to the Requestor;

    (B) The Executive Director concurs that Board action is necessary and presents the request and recommendation at an ensuing Board meeting. The Executive Director can choose to include a recommendation for or against the request; or

    (C) The Executive Director denies the request. In the case of a denial, the Requestor can ask that their request be placed on the agenda for the next available Board meeting for a final Board determination.

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.1 adopted to be effective May 8, 2022, 47 TexReg 2509

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