The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 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. This pilot program is designed to help HUD staff to better communicate with limited English proficient (LEP) individuals and families about HUD housing programs, services and activities.
According to HUD, the 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 LEP 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.
‘Access to government should not be determined by how well a person speaks English,’ says John Trasvina, HUD's 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.’
HUD is also offering an LEP website to promote equal access to housing programs by providing important HUD documents in 18 different languages. HUD's expanded LEP website features fact sheets, 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.