Language Interpretation Service will Assist Limited English Proficient Callers
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it has launched the HUD Language Line, a telephone language service pilot that will offer live, one-on-one interpretation services in more than 175 languages. Accessible throughout the nation, the language line will help HUD staff to better communicate with Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals and families about HUD housing programs, services, and activities.
“Access to government should not be determined by how well a person speaks English,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “The HUD Language Line is another example of HUD’s efforts to ensure that persons with limited English proficiency have equal access to HUD programs and services.”
This pilot program will run through September 2012. HUD staff across the nation will be able to use the HUD Language Line to provide non English-speaking individuals and families with information about fair housing, homeownership, lead abatement, housing assistance, and other HUD programs and services. When a person with limited English proficiency contacts the Department, the HUD staff person taking the call will contact the Language Line and speak with a live operator, who will connect the caller and HUD staff person with an interpreter who speaks the caller’s language.
Congress appropriated funds to HUD under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 to help ensure that individuals have access to information in languages other than English regarding HUD programs, services and activities.
HUD also offers a Limited English Proficiency website to promote equal access to housing programs by providing important HUD documents in 18 different languages. HUD’s expanded LEP website features factsheets, housing brochures and other HUD forms in Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Creole, Farsi, French, Hmong, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, in addition to English. The site offers brochures on fair housing, model lease agreements, information about HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), and Resident Rights and Responsibilities. The larger LEP initiative is in response to Executive Order 13166, which requires all federal, local and state agencies that receive federal funding to ensure that people with limited language skills have meaningful access to government programs and services.