The Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force recently submitted a comment letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the burden faced when applying for or maintaining eligibility for HUD’s housing programs. Administrative hurdles and paperwork burdens disproportionately fall on the most vulnerable populations, including those with disabilities, and prevent individuals and entities from accessing benefits for which they are legally eligible.
Some of the most prevalent administrative barriers include:
- Identifying eligible households – Many public housing authorities (PHAs) are not able to identify persons on their waiting lists that may meet the eligibility requirements for targeted programs such as Mainstream or Nonelderly Disabled (NED) vouchers because relevant information is not requested, such as disability status or whether they meet preferences such as “exiting institutions.”
- Securing required income documentation – For individuals seeking to move from an institutional setting into housing or those who have experienced homelessness and/or displacement, securing required documentation (such as income verification) can take a particularly long time and lead to delays in obtaining housing.
- Securing required documentation of disability – There are two concerns, the first being that housing providers sometimes ask for too much information. The second concern is the length of time it can take for a household to secure verification.
- Requesting reasonable accommodations – HUD-funded programs do not consistently provide reasonable accommodations and therefore exacerbate the exclusion of people with disabilities.
- Multiple applications and multiple housing providers – Subsidized housing applications often ask the same questions. They are nearly identical, but each has to be completed and submitted individually. Applicants will complete nearly identical forms tens or hundreds of times.
- Notarized documents – It can be difficult to identify and travel to a notary. Second, notaries are often at banks; many households do not have bank accounts or accounts at a particular bank. Finally, there can be fees associated with securing a notarized document.
- Recertification – When the document is not signed and returned to the housing provider by the deadline, depending on the program, the risks to the tenant can include temporarily losing their subsidy, being charged market rent, and/or eviction.
When asked about specific challenges HUD should address, the letter discusses plain language materials and the accessibility of website and smartphone applications. Receiving this information will assist HUD in better understanding, identifying, and reducing their public program administrative burden and ultimately further HUD’s mission to pursue transformative housing and community-building policies and programs.
View the full letter here. Visit our Advocacy Letters to Policymakers webpage to view other letters the Amputee Coalition has endorsed.