The ADA and Section 504 both stipulate that “no otherwise qualified persons with disabilities…shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance (Section 504) or any activities of “public entities,” of state or local governments, regardless of whether they receive federal funding (Title II of the ADA). The Fair Housing Amendments Act regulations state “It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit including public and private use areas.”
The requirement to provide reasonable accommodation is intended to provide, for persons with disabilities, equal opportunity to participate in programs through modification of policies, procedures, or structures. This policy is not intended to provide greater program benefits to persons with disabilities than to non-disabled residents or applicants. It may mean, however, that persons with disabilities will sometimes be treated differently, in order to ensure equal access to programs and services. Equal access to programs and services is referred to as “Program Access” in both Section 504 and ADA.