A guide to requesting
for separate bedrooms
in HUD, Section 8,
and Low Income Housing
Writing by Delphinium
Art by Robin Mead
Delphinium is disabled and has three children with disabilities. She was able to make disability accommodation requests to get separate bedrooms for each person. This raised her Housing Voucher so her family is able to rent a four-bedroom house. Delphinium was kind enough to share these tips and ideas to help other families in similar situations.
When my Housing Authority tried to downsize my family to a two-bedroom apartment, I submitted four reasonable accommodation requests with four doctor’s letters detailing why each child needed a separate bedroom.
In talking with other families, I have found that common diagnosis for a requesting a separate bedroom are: anxiety, ADHD, autism, mobility issues, PTSD, history of sexual abuse, attachment disorder, sleep disorders, and almost any psych diagnosis. If you have a good doctor, it is possible for asthma.
An argument could be made for almost any diagnosis depending on the symptoms and the degree that impacts the person. Here’s some examples I have seen from other families:
Example of Reasons for Request for Emotional, Mental or Behavioral Issues
Requests like this are sometimes made for children or family members with Autism, ADD, ADHD, Bipolar, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Alzheimer’s, or Downs Syndrome. Specific reasons some families have noted:
🌷 Accommodation is needing for space to practice calming skills or coping mechanisms recommended by child’s doctor or therapist.
🌷 Child is not adapting well to change, and without separate, private space can become hyperactive, easily agitated, and impulsive.
🌷 Treatment and behavioral plan includes child having private space to withdraw to. Doctor states that this will allow child to better self-manage their symptoms.
🌷 Child has sensory issues, many of which are made worse when he feels his space is invaded or doesn’t have an areas of his own to go to practice therapeutic coping mechanisms.
Example of Reasons for Request for Asthma
A doctor’s letter should state that the only way to accommodate disability needs would be a separate bedroom. Speak with your doctor about the specific needs of your family. Reasons some families have faced:
🌷 Child has severe asthma and can’t be in a bedroom with carpet, blinds, and stuffed animals, and needs special bedding and pillows.
🌷 Shared bedroom would put child at a greater risk at being exposed to triggers.
🌷 Shared bedroom would be an unnecessary financial burden on the family requiring double the medically-necessary bedding due to sharing a room.
🌷 As cleaning and washing of fabrics would be needed more often this would again cause an additional financial hardship by doubling the cost and it would double the work and the frequency.
Example of Reasons for Physical Disabilities
🌷 Child uses wheelchair, oxygen tank, or other medical equipment. Needs suitable space in room to safely operate equipment.
🌷 Child is unable to navigate small spaces using medical equipment. Needs suitable floor space for navigation and mobility.
🌷 Child is prescribed physical therapy exercises and at-home sessions with physical therapist. Needs suitable space for the safe storage and operation of physical therapy equipment. Needs private space separate from other family members for at-home physical therapy sessions. Inadequate space in rest of house to safely store equipment, inadequate floor space to safely use prescribed equipment.
🌷 Child requires special care during overnight hours. Requires medication, treatment, personal care attendant, or other activities during nighttime hours that would make the room not a suitable sleeping space for anyone else.
🌷 Child has sleeping disorder. Doctor has stated that shared bedroom worsens disability symptoms. Doctor finds that a separate bedroom is medically necessary as part of treatment plan for sleeping disorder.
Other Reasons for Bedrooms
🌷 Some families do not request separate bedrooms for sleeping, but instead request additional bedrooms for other purposes.
🌷 Other common reasons for additional bedrooms are: live-in aides or storing and using medical equipment. Some people have been granted bedrooms for physical therapy or offgassing items for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. More Reasons for an Additional Bedroom.
Making the Request
Here’s where you can find sample letters and more information on how to submit your request for a separate bedroom: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters
Sleeping in Living Room
Some Housing Authorities have a policy that when an additional bedroom is needed, they will expect a non-disabled person to sleep in the living room. Learn more here: Reasonable Accommodations & Sleeping in Living Room
Will My Voucher Go Up?
Yes if you have a housing voucher, the amount of the voucher will go up. For example, it might go from $1,000 to $1,200. How Much Will My Voucher Go Up?
Will My Share of the Rent Go Up?
For vouchers and HUD apartments, the amount you pay each month will stay the same or go down. If you do not have a voucher and live in a different type of income restricted property, your rent might increase. Will My Share of the Rent Go Up?
Some families are reporting difficulties after submitting requests based on child’s behavioral issues. Be careful about any statements by you or child’s doctor that uses phrases like “unsafe” “violent” or “aggressive” or expresses need for “door with a lock,” as these words can trigger mandatory reporting in some cases.
Updated July 2019. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.
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