Water Street Non-Profit Homes Inc. acknowledges its responsibility under the Ontario Human Rights Code and other legislation to accommodate the needs of applicants and tenant and to actively remove barriers, physical or otherwise, which may prevent those individuals from participating fully in the activities of the Non-Profit and from having a successful tenancy.
Accommodation will be provided in accordance with the principles of dignity, individualization, and inclusion. Water Street will work co-operatively, and in a spirit of respect, with all partners in the accommodation process.
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the accommodation processes that all staff may take to support, as much as possible, the full and equitable participation of applicants and tenants who are Code-protected in the activities of the non-profit and to support successful tenancies.
This policy applies to all staff, board members, volunteers, tenant, and guests, who all have a role to play in accommodating the needs of other tenants and applicants.
This policy also applies to all non-profit policies and procedures. Where there is a conflict between existing policies, procedures, regulations, and/or legislation, the person identifying the conflict will consult with the Property Manager, the service manager, and other stakeholders as required to identify solutions and opportunities to accommodate the needs of staff, board members, volunteers, tenants and applicants.
An individual or household who is applying for tenancy at the non-profit.
A barrier may be a part of the physical or built environment which limits or prevents the accessibility of a space. A barrier may also be a policy, procedure, or requirement that excludes individuals or groups from fairly and equally accessing a good, service, or resource.
Grounds upon which the discrimination of individuals or groups is prohibited under the Human Rights Code, 1990. Prohibited grounds for discrimination include an individual or groups race, skin colour, ancestry, creed (religion), place or origin, ethnic origin, citizenship sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, age, marital status (including same-sex partnerships), family status, disability, and receipt of public assistance.
The staff person(s) or department who has been designated to complete a particular action or requirement.
Discrimination in housing based on a protected Code ground may be described as any distinction, conduct or action, whether intentional or not, but based on a Code ground, that has the effect of either imposing burdens on an individual or group that are not imposed upon others, or withholding or limiting access to opportunity, benefits, and advantages available to other members of society.
Refers to the organization whose Board of Directors have approved this policy.
A person who has signed a lease and who enjoys all of the rights and responsibilities of tenancy.
The point at which an organization reaches “undue hardship” is dependent on the unique circumstances of the accommodations being explored. Sections 11 and 17 of the Code outline the three criteria that must be considered in order to determine whether the necessary accommodation(s) would pose an undue hardship to an organization.
Those criteria are:
- the cost
- the presence of outside sources of funding, if any; and
- health and safety requirements for other tenants and staff, if any.
Only when those three criteria are met can an individual or group decline the accommodation of another individual or group.
All parties within the organization, including applicants, tenants, volunteers, board members and staff will be made aware of their rights and responsibilities under this policy through on-going, active communication on the part of the non-profit.
Materials will be developed and distributed to all applicants and incoming and existing tenants, which identify the intent and contents of this policy and the protected grounds upon which accommodation may be sought.
Staff will keep detailed notes regarding their interactions with the individual requesting accommodation, including:
- the accommodation(s) request;
- notes on the discussions that staff have with all stakeholders in the request
- copies of all supporting documentation from experts, as well as research undertaken by staff
3.0 IDENTIFICATION OF REQUIRED ACCOMMODATION
All representatives of the non-profit have a responsibility to help reduce barriers to participate in and to promote inclusion. Therefore, where a non-profit representative believes that an accommodation may be of benefit to a tenant or applicant, they will confer with the Property Manager to determine the most effective and appropriate method to address the need and provide assistance to the individual.
Clear and detailed documentation must be compiled, including how the need for accommodation was discovered, actions of the non-profit, interactions with the Code-protected individual and any other supporting documentation (e.g. letters, conversation notes) will also be dated and filed.
4.0 RECEIPT OF REQUEST FOR ACCOMMODATION
Written requests for accommodation are preferred. However, where this requirement may prevent an individual from securing an accommodation, assistance will be provided by staff or a referral will be made to a community- based resource.
Once a request has been documented within five (5) working days of receiving the request, staff will meet with the tenant/applicant to review the requested modifications and to review the roles of both parties in the accommodation process.
When necessary, staff will request supporting documentation for the requested accommodation(s) and any alternative accommodations which would meet the same, or similar, objectives from the individual’s medical doctor or other professional(s). Staff will also require the individual to sign a Consent to the Disclosure of Information form.
5.0 INVESTIGATION OF PROPOSED ACCOMMODATION(S)
Staff will investigate the requested accommodation(s) to determine the most cost-effective accommodation that also meets the requirements of the individual.
Staff will secure appropriate expert opinion in addition to contacting the individual’s professional supports. Where necessary and appropriate staff will also conduct independent research.
The accommodation process is a collaborative and co-operative process between the individual and the non-profit. As such, it is expected that both parties will be in regular and respectful contact to discuss possible accommodations and to answer outstanding or arising questions.
Staff will document all interactions with all stakeholders in a clear, concise manner and will file these notes, in addition to any supporting documentation, in the individual’s file.
6.0 ACCOMMODATION(S) WITHOUT COST
Depending on the nature of the accommodation(s) required, staff may or may be permitted to exercise individual discretion:
- In cases where the accommodation requires only flexibility in the non-profit’s internal policies and procedures the Property Manager will be permitted to exercise their discretion.
- In cases where the accommodation required is contrary to legislation and/or service manager directors, the Property Manager will consult with the Board.
Staff and the individual will co-operatively and collaboratively identify mutually satisfactory accommodations.
- Once an appropriate accommodation has been identified, the Property Manager will send a letter to the individual outlining the accommodation that have been agreed to and will also file a copy of that letter in the tenant file.
If staff and the applicant/tenant are unable to co-operatively identify appropriate accommodations, the matter will be referred to the Board of Directors for follow-up.
7.0 ACCOMODATION(S) WITH COST
Depending on the cost of the accommodation(s) required, staff is required to consult with the board of directors:
- In cases where the required accommodation will cost less than $1500 the Property Manager will be permitted to exercise their discretion.
- In cases where the required accommodation is anticipated to be more than $1500 the Property Manager is required to consult with, and gain approval from the board of directors.
Staff will research and, if possible, identify and apply for, potential external sources of funding which may reduce the financial burden place on the non-profit.
8.0 UNDUE HARDSHIP
If the Property Manager and the individual are unable to identify an accommodation(s) that meets the needs of the individual without affecting the on-going financial viability of the non-profit, the Property Manager and the board of directors will seek legal counsel.
The non-profit may also elect to seek assistance and resources from the service manager or program funder(s) to meet the accommodation requirement(s) of the individual.
Approved by the Board of Directors on this _____ day of ____________, 2015
SAMPLE ACCOMMODATION LETTER
Address of Tenant
We want to support you to continue to maintain your tenancy here at Water Street Non-Profit Homes Inc. Based on information we (have been given) or (have observed) we believe that you may need some help to continue to live here.
On (date), it was (reported to staff) or (staff inspected your unit and found) that:
(give very specific examples of what you observed or were told, for example)
- Your fridge was empty without any visible food
- There was a lot of clutter including one room that we could not enter
- A buildup of mail was visible, including bills that remain unopened
- Generally dirty conditions in the living room, hallway…..
- Toilet is constantly clogged with cigarette butts and feces
- There were several cigarette burns on the carpet, counters, etc.
- You have set your smoke detector off several times due to leaving food unattended on the stove
- You have asked several tenants to borrow money from them
We have serious concerns about:
- Your own health and safety
- The health and safety of other tenants
- The risk of bed bugs or other pests finding their way into your unit
- Your financial well being
We would like to set up a meeting with you so that we can help you to continue to live successfully at Water Street. Please call me at 905-472-6600 to set up an appointment to meet. Feel free to bring a friend, family member, or other support person with you to the appointment. I would like to work with you to figure out a plan that will allow us to resolve the problem in your unit and allow you to continue to live in your home.
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