Readers Describe Their Housing Needs

modern-floral-robin-meadIf you are submitting a disability accommodation request for housing, you may be wondering how to describe your disability needs. Here’s some great examples from readers:

Additional Bedroom 

If you are requesting a separate or additional bedroom, look here instead: How to Request an Additional Bedroom

Including More Than One Need

The examples below focus on one need at a time. However, when you make your request, it is very helpful if you can include more than one disability need.

For example, you may need a house with no stairs and also need a house that is within 10 minutes of a hospital. Or, your son may need a house with a fenced yard, while your daughter needs a house that has space for medical equipment.

Allysum Needs to Live Near Family

Due to my disability, we are seeking a home that is close to family who are caregivers to me and my children who are also disabled. My family offers relief, support, and care for my children, often within minutes if necessary when I become nonfunctional or need to manage my symptoms.

We are in need of a home within 10-15 minutes of my mother, who is my main caregiver, due to the potential need for fast intervention. This will also allow my mother to provide disability respite care for all 4 children.

Sage Needs to Stay in Current Area

Sage’s disability affects his ability to cope with change, which results in enormous anxiety, distress, and depressive episodes. We need to stay in our current area close to his providers that he has finally established trust and consistent treatment with (after multiple provider changes).

These depressive episodes are made worse by inconsistency and major change, he often loses functioning, cannot work, sleeps all day and can’t sleep at night. These lead to explosive outbursts.

We are seeking to stay in our current area so we can be near family, support systems, caregivers, doctors, and familiar religious leaders and congregation to keep his routines and support systems as consistent as possible.

Tupelo Needs a Bathroom

Tupelo also requires his own bathroom due to the extended amount of time it takes to attend to his medical needs, apply medication, and perform his activities of daily living in the bathroom. To share a bathroom would cause a tremendous amount of time constraints and stress for both family members to get ready for bed, appointments, school, etc.

This would require getting up extremely early, and/or staying up late, limiting ability to complete Activities of Daily Living with care related to his medical needs and get adequate rest. This is turn will increase stress levels, exacerbate disability symptoms and interfere with an equal opportunity to use and enjoy our dwelling.

Sage Needs a Detached, Single Family Home

Due to sensitivity to noise and smells, exposure to which can exacerbate his sensory processing disorder, Sage needs a single-family (detached house, not an apartment or condo) residence. This includes both noises and smells emanating from inside confined areas (sounds made from children, their respective tics and compulsions) and from that of close proximity neighbors (apartments, condos, etc..)

In addition to the noise and smell sensitivity, we are seeking this accommodation because of his unique and complex sensory, behavioral and emotional needs. Due to his disability, he is sometimes unable to regulate his emotions resulting in behavioral outbursts. He needs to live in a place that he will not be overwhelmed with a high volume of people in the immediate area (both immediate household members resulting from small living space and living situations where shared walls are used).

Additionally, apartment living is ill-advised as many of these uncontrollable disability-related behaviors have a history of upsetting neighbors who expect peaceful enjoyment of their dwellings, his symptoms can lead to confrontations with neighbors which escalate my husband’s symptoms and can place our family at risk for eviction.

His medical provider has recommended that detached housing is needed for his stability and proper management of his symptoms and to avoid environmental triggers as much as possible. We are seeking Increased space with additional rooms/square footage to be able to retreat when dealing with his symptoms.

Flower’s Family Needs for Large, Fenced Backyard

Due to disabilities of members of the family, we need a home with a functional and ample backyard space with a fence, due to needs for large motor activity to manage symptoms and history of elopement caused by disability.

Chestnut: Chestnut has a disability that interferes with his executive functioning and what may be deemed as socially acceptable or safe behaviors, we are seeking a home on a non-busy road. He also has a history of being a flight risk and we request a home with a gated backyard. Due to Chestnuts’s disability, we are seeking: A home on a non-busy road and a home with a gated backyard.

Ash: Ash has a sensory processing disability that makes him under-sensitive, which makes him seek out more sensory stimulation. This results in a constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s not socially acceptable, an inability to understand personal space, an inability to understand his own strength, a constant need to be fidgety and unable to sit still. Ash’s behavioralist recommends that we have a home  with a functional backyard to release aggression, satisfy sensory needs, cope with anxiety, and practice therapeutic calming techniques for controlling his body.

Douglas Fir: Douglas is 6, and over the last 4 years developed a disability that often results in him lashing out in anger or aggression when he becomes overstimulated. At the recommendation of his behavioralist, we are requesting a backyard that can serve as a space to release energy.

Johnny’s Needs for Safe Housing 

Johnny needs a yard that is fenced in, in order to be able to safely play and have time outside. Due to his disabilities, he has a history or elopement, lack of impulse control, and inability to sense danger. Extra safety measures such as a fence are needed to keep Johnny from running into the street.

The addition of an attached garage is also needed to minimize Johnny’s access to the street. With an attached garage, Johnny could go straight from the house to the vehicle without any exposure to the outside, minimizing the risk of elopement and running into the street.

Johnny needs to live in a single family home because his disability causes him to have loud uncontrollable outbursts that is disruptive to neighbors and can result in noise complaints. Neighbors knocking on the door to complain can worsen the situation immensely. He’s easily annoyed by sounds, especially close ones such of those of neighbors which can lead to meltdowns, difficulty sleeping, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, destructive behavior among others.

Chrysanthemum’s Needs for Her Disabled Daughter

For child with chronic lung disease:

– I need to be in close proximity to a 24 hour emergency medical hospital in case of an emergency. My daughter is also on home oxygen 24/7, an apena monitor plus a pulse oximeter, so being within close proximity to 24 hour emergency medical hospital is a must incase there is ever a power outage.

– This specific unit is a 1 story flat which would benefit my daughter due to her home concentrator. We are only given 25 feet of cannula tubing, a two story unit will not work in our situation. We are only provided one oxygen concentrator which is not portable and is very heavy.

– In an emergency that I would have to call 911, the local fire and EMS is only 2.1 miles from the unit, 5 minutes away.

– This apartment complex offers guaranteed handicap parking spaces, since my daughter was issued a handicap plaque, this would be beneficial. Getting her and her equipment would be quick and easy.

– Due to my daughter’s complex medical condition, she is highly susceptible to infections. The apartment must be accessible without going through common areas such as a lobby and elevator since there is a private entrance.

– Due to being highly susceptible to infections, requiring 24/7 oxygen, and having fragile pulmonary condition, the apartment must be free of mold, able to be easily cleaned.

– This apartment is and needs to be easily accessible for regular, ongoing delivery of oxygen tanks, complex medical supplies and specialty pharmacy deliveries.

– This apartment also has a private patio which would be beneficial to breathe in fresh outside air during cooler months.

– Electric heat is a cleaner source and preferable over oil heat for my daughter’s serious pulmonary condition.

– This unit has central air conditioning which is needed especially during the hotter months due to her respiratory status.

– There is a washer & dryer hookup which is favorable so there’s no need to leave the house to do laundry which could expose her to germs.

How did things turn out for Chrysanthemum? Find out: Chrysanthemum Gets Bad News and Good News

Azalea’s Needs for Keeping Current Home

Azalea’s housing needs to stay in current home and rent from a relative:

– A single-family residence due sensitivity to noise and smells, exposure to which can exacerbate Autism and PTSD.

– A home within 15 minutes of my mother, who is my main caregiver, due to the potential need for fast intervention.

– Wheelchair accessibility

– Adequate space for physical therapy equipment

– Maintaining residence in my current housing, which will provide increased stability and permanence. This is needed due to medical risks related to moving, plus costs associated with making needed disability home modifications. I also need to maintain my current landlord, as my disability causes anxiety with new people, especially authority figures, including non-verbal periods.

– A landlord who is able to provide extra support and understanding related to rent payment, utility set up, and other logistics, due to my issues with executive function.

– A landlord who is willing to offer flexibility in making extensive changes to the living area to meet various disability needs

In addition, Azalea’s son alder is also disabled and Alder also has he following disability housing needs:

– An attached garage, due to history of elopement.

– A secured outdoor area, due to need for large motor activity to manage symptoms and history of elopement.

– Secured entrances and windows, due to history of elopement.

Camellia’s Needs for Location, Stairs, and Parking

For a person with ME/CFS:

Reasonable Accommodation Request: Camellia requires housing located in the town of Podunk to allow proximity to daughter (primary caregiver), and access to current medical providers and support. She also requires housing with no internal stairs and designated parking near entrance to accommodate mobility limitations.

Reason for Accommodation: Camellia has a disability that substantially impedes her ability to live independently and could be improved by more suitable housing conditions. This reasonable accommodation will allow her to acquire services that meet the needs of her disability and allow her to remain living independently.

Medical Background: Camellia is disabled with a condition that causes her to have an exacerbation of her symptoms following minimal activity. This limits her movement, her ability to travel distances. Any small activity on one day can render her homebound for the rest of the week. It is imperative that Camellia has assistance close by for help with activities of daily living, and that her established medical care and social support are accessible to her with a minimal amount of exertion. Patients with post-exertional exacerbation of symptoms have a marked, rapid physical and cognitive fatiguability in response to even minimal exertion which can be debilitating and cause acute flu-like symptoms, pain and a worsening of other symptoms. Recovery from this minimal exertion can last for hours or days, weeks, and sometimes longer.

Hibiscus Needs for Comfort and Mobility

I am seeking an exception to payment standard so that I may rent a home with the following characteristics:

🔹No stairs between bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. I am mobility impaired. 

🔹Bathtub. Due to severe muscle weakness, I Experience difficulties with sitting and standing up and am unable to bathe in a shower.

🔹Quiet living environment due to severe sound sensitivities. This home is in a quiet residential neighborhood. In addition, it is a duplex, shared with only one downstairs neighbor. 

🔹Central air conditioning. My symptoms are exacerbated by heat exposure and also by noise from window units

🔹Above ground. This is a street level unit, not basement or below ground. I frequently have symptoms and respiratory problems and below ground units.

🔹Access to sunlight and air. This home has a porch in the back in a quiet setting. My Doctor has recommended increased exposure to sunlight. I am very rarely able to leave my home and have become deficient in vitamin D because of this.

🔹 Little or No carpeting. Carpeting makes it more difficult for me to operate my mobility equipment. There is no carpeting in this house.

🔹 Available soon. My dr. feels that it’s medically needed for me to move as soon as possible, particularly before summer heat starts, but it’s been very difficult for me to find housing which can accommodate my disabilities.  This house is available starting early June, which is the soonest I have been able to find something suitable. Most other options I have looked into are not available until July or August.

Flower’s Family Needs for Adequate Space

Ash – Ash is my son. Ash has a sensory processing disability that makes him under-sensitive, which makes him seek out more sensory stimulation. This results in a constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s not socially acceptable, an inability to understand personal space, an inability to understand his own strength, a constant need to be fidgety and unable to sit still. Ash’s behavioralist recommends that we have a home with plenty of space inside to satisfy sensory needs, cope with anxiety, and practice therapeutic calming techniques for controlling his body.

Douglas Fir – Douglas is my son. Douglas is 6, and over the last 4 years developed a disability that often results in him lashing out in anger or aggression when he becomes overstimulated and requires structure and routine. At the recommendation of his behavioralist, we are requesting a home that would provide sufficient space for his ABA therapy

Birch – Birch is my son. Due to Birch’s disability, we are seeking housing with adequate space and storage. Birch has a disability that impairs his ability to stay organized and becomes forgetful. This is made worse by living in a space that doesn’t have enough room and adequate storage for belongings.

Allysum – I have a disability that affects my ability to effectively cope with small or cluttered living spaces. This is made worse when there isn’t adequate space to store belongings. This disability has prevented me from getting out of bed, due to feelings of overwhelming stress, overstimulation, claustrophobia, anxiety, and close contact to loud noises, repeated sounds, and pitches that cause me to lose concentration, become nonfunctional, and immobile. I am requesting a home where I can have my own space to manage my symptoms. Our home also needs to have adequate space for my husband Sage or me to retreat to when the our shared bedroom is being used by the other spouse with a disability to cope and manage their symptoms.

Sage – My husband Sage has a disability that is made worse by small living spaces, clutter, and disorganization – All of which result in difficulty focusing (due to the competing sensory input), extreme irritability, restlessness, discomfort, stress, fear, and anxiety about his surroundings, this leads to him being unable to focus, interact with others, and work. This overstimulation often results in irritability, anxiousness, an increase in breathing tics, twitches, and him retreating to his bedroom for hours at a time and becoming completely unable to function. All of these things are made worse when he is in an uncomfortable, overwhelming, stressful and overstimulating situation.

Due to his disabilities, Sage needs a home with space for him to retreat to when he is needing to deal and cope with his symptoms, while not interfering with other families who also have disabilities and need space to cope and manage their symptoms. He also needs a home with rooms that are far enough away from each other where symptoms of  other children’s disabilities do not interfere with his disability.

To summarize our requests:

We are seeking a home with 2000+ square feet for space to accommodate every member of our family who has sensory processing issues. Approx half is hyposensitive and the other half hypersensitive. These often directly contradict each other. Many of these sensory issues are made worse when we feel our space is invaded or do not have an area to respectively retreat to of our own to go to practice therapeutic coping mechanisms. This would provide adequate space away from each other when using coping skills to deal with each respective disability. For example, we need a home where our oldest son’s bedroom is far enough away that my husband is not overstimulated by my son’s involuntary vocal outbursts and tics. To meet disability needs, we are seeking a home with square feet of 2000 or more and adequate storage space, such as coat closets, linen closets, attic space, garage, storage closets, etc.

Sage’s Need for Safe Neighborhood

One of Sage’s disabilities was developed while serving in the navy, it is comorbid with a couple of his other conditions/disabilities. This condition causes him to be overly fearful for himself and his family at times. It includes excessive checking and mental compulsions, This disability is made worse when living in unpredictable areas of town.

In our current living situation we’ve had two thefts which have exacerbated his disability, resulting in compulsive and intrusive thoughts that interfere with his basic human functioning as it causes him to compulsively replay situations, safety measures, be fearful of safety, compulsively playing out scenarios of confrontation in his mind resulting in agitated behavior, anger outbursts, feeling wound up, and inability to concentrate or focus on work or sleep.

June’s Need for Detached Housing (Behavioral/Mental)

A detached house (not apartment building) for disabled child with complex sensory, behavioral and emotional needs of my child. Due to her disability she is unable to regulate her emotions resulting in behavioral outbursts.

She needs to live in a place that she will not be overwhelmed with a high volume of people in the immediate area. Additionally, apartment living is ill-advised as many of these uncontrollable disability related behaviors have a history of upsetting neighbors who expect peaceful enjoyment of their dwellings, and her symptoms can lead to confrontations with neighbors which escalate my daughters symptoms can place our family at risk for eviction.

Her medical provider has recommended that detached housing is needed for her stability and proper management of her symptoms.


What Should I Disclose? 

You and your doctor will need to explain the connection between your request and your disability needs. However, it is not necessary to disclose your symptoms or diagnosis. You can if you wish to.

For example: A person has a diagnosis of serious mental illness and is at imminent risk for suicide and needs to have immediate access to emergency services, but does not wish to disclose this to their housing program.

In this situation, doctor might write: “Housing must be within x miles or x minutes of emergency room to meet critical disability needs. This is medically-necessary for patient safety.”


Learn More

🌸 This page is part of the online guide: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

🌸 Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

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