[Federal Register: December 19, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 244)]
[Page 70967-70980]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 70967]]


Part V

Department of Housing and Urban Development


Notice of Guidance to Federal Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI 
Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited 
English Proficient Persons; Notice

[[Page 70968]]



[Docket No. FR-4878-N-01]

Notice of Guidance to Federal Assistance Recipients Regarding 
Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting 
Limited English Proficient Persons

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal 
Opportunity, HUD.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: HUD is publishing proposed ``Guidance to Federal Financial 
Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National 
Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons'' 
(Guidance) as required by Executive Order 13166, which addresses 
assistance to recipients of federal financial assistance who have 
limited English proficiency.

DATES: Comment Due Date: January 20, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding 
this notice to the Regulations Division, Office of the General Counsel, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Room 10276, 451 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20410-0500. Communications should refer to 
the above docket number and title. Facsimile (FAX) comments are not 
acceptable. A copy of each communication submitted will be available 
for public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at 
the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pamela D. Walsh, Director, Program 
Standards Division, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Room 5226, 451 Seventh 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20410-2000, telephone (202) 708-2904 (this 
is not a toll-free number). Hearing- or speech-impaired individuals may 
access the telephone number listed in this section through TTY by 
calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 
1964 (Title VI) and implementing regulations, recipients of federal 
financial assistance have a responsibility to ensure meaningful access 
to their programs and activities by persons with limited English 
proficiency (LEP). Executive Order 13166, reprinted at 65 FR 50121 
(August 16, 2000), directs each federal agency that extends assistance 
subject to the requirements of Title VI to publish guidance for its 
respective recipients clarifying that obligation. Because this guidance 
(42 U.S.C. 2000d) (Title VI) must adhere to the federal-wide compliance 
standards and framework detailed in the model LEP Guidance of the 
Department of Justice (DOJ) issued on June 18, 2002, HUD specifically 
solicits comments on the nature, scope, and appropriateness of the HUD-
specific examples set out in this guidance explaining and/or 
highlighting how those consistent federal-wide compliance standards are 
applicable to recipients of federal financial assistance through HUD.

I. Introduction

    Most individuals living in the United States read, write, speak, 
and understand English. There are many individuals, however, for whom 
English is not their primary language. For instance, based on the 2000 
census, over 26 million individuals speak Spanish and almost seven 
million individuals speak an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. 
If these individuals have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or 
understand English, they are limited English proficient, or ``LEP.'' 
While detailed data from the 2000 census has not yet been released, 26 
percent of all Spanish speakers, 29.9 percent of all Chinese speakers, 
and 28.2 percent of all Vietnamese speakers reported that they spoke 
English ``not well'' or ``not at all'' in response to the 1990 census.
    Language for LEP persons can be a barrier to accessing important 
benefits or services, understanding and exercising important rights, 
complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding other 
information provided by federally-funded programs and activities. The 
federal government funds an array of programs, services, and activities 
that can be made accessible to otherwise eligible LEP persons. The 
federal government is committed to improving the accessibility of these 
programs and activities to eligible LEP persons, a goal that reinforces 
its equally important commitment to promoting programs and activities 
designed to help individuals learn English. Recipients should not 
overlook the long-term positive impacts of incorporating or offering 
English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in parallel with language 
assistance services. ESL courses can serve as an important adjunct to a 
proper LEP plan. However, the fact that ESL classes are made available 
does not obviate the statutory and regulatory requirement to provide 
meaningful access for those who are not yet English proficient. 
Recipients of federal financial assistance have an obligation to reduce 
language barriers that can preclude meaningful access by LEP persons to 
important government programs, services, and activities. HUD recognizes 
that many recipients had language assistance programs in place prior to 
the issuance of Executive Order 13166. This Guidance provides a uniform 
framework for a recipient to integrate, formalize, and assess the 
continued vitality of these existing and possibly additional reasonable 
efforts based on the nature of its program or activity, the current 
needs of the LEP populations it encounters, and its prior experience in 
providing language services in the community it serves.
    In certain circumstances, failure to ensure that LEP persons can 
effectively participate in or benefit from federally-assisted programs 
and activities may violate the prohibition under Title VI and Title VI 
regulations against national origin discrimination. The purpose of this 
policy guidance is to assist recipients in fulfilling their 
responsibilities to provide meaningful access to LEP persons under 
existing law. This guidance clarifies existing legal requirements for 
LEP persons by providing a description of the factors recipients should 
consider in fulfilling their responsibilities to LEP persons. The 
policy guidance is not a regulation but rather a guide. Title VI and 
its implementing regulations require that recipients take responsible 
steps to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons. This guidance 
provides an analytical framework that recipients may use to determine 
how best to comply with statutory and regulatory obligations to provide 
meaningful access to the benefits, services, information, and other 
important portions of their programs and activities for LEP 
individuals. These are the same criteria HUD will use in evaluating 
whether recipients are in compliance with Title VI and Title VI 
    As with most government initiatives, guidance on LEP requires 
balancing several principles. While this Guidance discusses that 
balance in some detail, it is important to note the basic principles 
behind that balance. First, HUD must ensure that federally-assisted 
programs aimed at the American public do not leave some behind simply 
because they face challenges communicating in English. This is of 
particular importance because, in many cases, LEP individuals form a 
substantial portion of those encountered in federally-assisted 
programs. Second, HUD must achieve this goal while finding constructive 
methods to reduce the costs of LEP

[[Page 70969]]

requirements on small businesses, small local governments, or small 
nonprofits that receive federal financial assistance.
    There are many productive steps that the federal government, either 
collectively or as individual grant agencies, can take to help 
recipients reduce the costs of language services without sacrificing 
meaningful access for LEP persons. Without these steps, certain smaller 
grantees may well choose not to participate in federally-assisted 
programs, threatening the critical functions that the programs strive 
to provide. To that end, HUD plans to continue to provide assistance 
and guidance in this important area. In addition, HUD plans to work 
with representatives of state and local governments, public housing 
agencies, assisted housing providers, fair housing assistance programs, 
and other HUD recipients, and LEP persons to identify and share model 
plans, examples of best practices, and cost-saving approaches. 
Moreover, HUD intends to explore how language assistance measures, 
resources, and cost-containment approaches developed with respect to 
its own federally-conducted programs and activities can be effectively 
shared or otherwise made available to recipients, particularly small 
businesses, small local governments, and small nonprofits. An 
interagency working group on LEP has developed a Web site, http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.lep.gov
, to assist in disseminating this information to recipients, 

federal agencies, and the communities being served.
    Many persons who commented on the DOJ's proposed LEP guidance which 
was published January 16, 2001 (66 FR 3834), later published for 
additional public comment on January 18, 2002 (67 FR 2671), and 
published in final form on June 18, 2002 (67 FR 41455), have noted that 
some in the public have interpreted the case of Alexander v. Sandoval, 
532 U.S. 275 (2001), as implicitly striking down the regulations 
promulgated under Title VI that form the basis for the part of 
Executive Order 13166 that applies to federally-assisted programs and 
activities. DOJ and HUD have taken the position that this is not the 
case, for the reasons explained below. Accordingly, HUD will strive to 
ensure that federally-assisted programs and activities work in a way 
that is effective for all eligible beneficiaries, including those with 

II. Legal Authority

    Section 601 of Title VI provides that no person shall ``on the 
ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from 
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to 
discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal 
financial assistance.'' Section 602 authorizes and directs federal 
agencies that are empowered to extend federal financial assistance to 
any program or activity ``to effectuate the provisions of [section 601] 
* * * by issuing rules, regulations, or orders of general 
applicability'' (42 U.S.C. 2000d-1).
    HUD regulations promulgated pursuant to section 602 forbid 
recipients from ``utiliz[ing] criteria or methods of administration 
which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination 
because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of 
defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives 
of the program as respects individuals of a particular race, color, or 
national origin'' (24 CFR 1.4).
    The U.S. Supreme Court, in Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974), 
interpreted regulations promulgated by the former Department of Health, 
Education, and Welfare, including a regulation similar to that of HUD, 
24 CFR 1.4, to hold that Title VI prohibits conduct that has a 
disproportionate effect on LEP persons because such conduct constitutes 
national-origin discrimination. In Lau, a San Francisco school district 
that had a significant number of non-English speaking students of 
Chinese origin was required to take reasonable steps to provide them 
with a meaningful opportunity to participate in federally-funded 
educational programs.
    On August 11, 2000, Executive Order 13166, ``Improving Access to 
Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,'' was issued and 
published on August 16, 2000, at 65 FR 50121. Under that order, every 
federal agency that provides financial assistance to non-federal 
entities must publish guidance on how their recipients can provide 
meaningful access to LEP persons and thus comply with Title VI 
regulations forbidding funding recipients from ``restrict[ing] an 
individual in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege 
enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other 
benefit under the program'' or from ``utiliz[ing] criteria or methods 
of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to 
discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or 
have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment 
of the objectives of the program as respects individuals of a 
particular race, color, or national origin.''
    On that same day, DOJ issued a general guidance document addressed 
to ``Executive Agency Civil Rights Officers'' setting forth general 
principles for agencies to apply in developing guidance documents for 
recipients pursuant to the Order. The DOJ document is titled, 
``Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 National 
Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English 
Proficiency,'' (DOJ LEP Guidance) published on August 16, 2000, at 65 
FR 50123.
    Subsequently, federal agencies raised questions regarding the 
requirements of the Order, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme 
Court's decision in Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001). On 
October 26, 2001, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights 
Division, issued a memorandum for ``Heads of Departments and Agencies, 
General Counsels and Civil Rights Directors,'' that clarified and 
reaffirmed the DOJ LEP Guidance in light of Sandoval. This Guidance 
noted that some have interpreted Sandoval as implicitly striking down 
the disparate-impact regulations promulgated under Title VI that form 
the basis for the part of Executive Order 13166 that applies to 
federally-assisted programs and activities. See, e.g., Sandoval, 532 
U.S. at 286, 286 n.6 (``[W]e assume for purposes of this decision that 
section 602 confers the authority to promulgate disparate-impact 
regulations; * * * We cannot help observing, however, how strange it is 
to say that disparate-impact regulations are `inspired by, at the 
service of, and inseparably intertwined with' Sec. 601 * * * when Sec. 
601 permits the very behavior that the regulations forbid.''). This 
Guidance, however, makes clear that the DOJ disagreed with this 
interpretation. Sandoval holds principally that there is no private 
right of action to enforce Title VI disparate-impact regulations. It 
did not address the validity of those regulations or Executive Order 
13166 or otherwise limit the authority and responsibility of federal 
grant agencies to enforce their own implementing regulations. The 
Assistant Attorney General stated that because Sandoval did not 
invalidate any Title VI regulations that proscribe conduct that has a 
disparate impact on covered groups--the types of regulations that form 
the legal basis for the part of Executive Order 13166 that applies to 
federally-assisted programs and activities--the Executive Order remains 
in force.
    This HUD policy is published pursuant to Title VI, Title VI 
regulations, and Executive Order 13166. It is consistent with the 
DOJ's, ``Policy Guidance Document on Enforcement of National Origin 
Discrimination Against

[[Page 70970]]

Persons with Limited English Proficiency,'' published on August 16, 
2000, at 65 FR 50123, and the DOJ LEP Guidance issued on June 18, 2002, 
and published on June 18, 2002, at 67 FR 41457.

III. Who Is Covered?

    HUD's regulation, 24 CFR part 1, ``Nondiscrimination in Federally 
Assisted Programs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development--
Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,'' requires 
all recipients of federal financial assistance from HUD to provide 
meaningful access to LEP persons. Pursuant to Executive Order 13166, 
the meaningful access requirement of the Title VI regulations and the 
four-factor analysis set forth in this LEP Guidance are to additionally 
apply to the programs and activities of federal agencies, including 
HUD. Federal financial assistance includes grants, training, use of 
equipment, donations of surplus property, and other assistance. 
Recipients of HUD assistance include, for example:
    [sbull] State and local governments;
    [sbull] Public housing authorities;
    [sbull] Assisted housing providers;
    [sbull] Profit and nonprofit organizations; and
    [sbull] Other entities receiving funds directly or indirectly from 
    Subrecipients likewise are covered when federal funds are passed 
through from one recipient to a subrecipient (e.g., Entitlement 
Community Development Block Grant, State Block Grant, State Community 
Development Block Grant, and HOME Recipients' subrecipients are 
    Coverage extends to a recipient's entire program or activity, 
(i.e., to all parts of a recipient's operations). This is true even if 
only one part of the recipient receives the federal assistance.
    Example: HUD provides assistance to a state government's Department 
of Community Development to improve a particular public facility. All 
of the operations of the entire state Department of Community 
Development--not just the particular facility--are covered. However, if 
a federal agency were to decide to terminate federal funds based on 
noncompliance with Title VI or its regulations, only funds directed to 
the particular program or activity that is out of compliance would be 
terminated (42 U.S.C. 2000d-1). Finally, some recipients operate in 
jurisdictions in which English has been declared the official language. 
Nonetheless, these recipients continue to be subject to federal non-
discrimination requirements, including those applicable to the 
provision of federally-assisted services to LEP persons.

IV. Who Is a Limited English Proficient Individual?

    Persons who do not speak English as their primary language and who 
have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English can 
be LEP, entitled to language assistance with respect to a particular 
type of service, benefit, or encounter. Examples of populations likely 
to include LEP persons who are encountered and/or served by HUD 
recipients and should be considered when planning language services 
include, but are not limited to:
    [sbull] Persons who are seeking housing assistance from a public 
housing agency or assisted housing provider or are current tenants in 
such housing;
    [sbull] Persons seeking assistance from a state or local government 
for a rehabilitation grant for their home;
    [sbull] Persons who are attempting to file a housing discrimination 
complaint with a local Fair Housing Assistance Program grantee;
    [sbull] Persons who are seeking supportive services to become 
first-time homebuyers;
    [sbull] Persons seeking housing related social services, training, 
or any other assistance from HUD recipients; and
    [sbull] Parents and family members of the above.

V. How Does a Recipient Determine the Extent of Its Obligation To 
Provide LEP Services?

    Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure 
meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. 
While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the 
starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the 
following four factors: (1) The number or proportion of LEP persons 
eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or 
grantee; (2) the frequency with which LEP persons come into contact 
with the program; (3) the nature and importance of the program, 
activity, or service provided by the program to people's lives; and (4) 
the resources available to the grantee/recipient and costs. As 
indicated above, the intent of this Guidance is to suggest a balance 
that ensures meaningful access by LEP persons to critical services 
while not imposing undue burdens on small business, small local 
governments, or small nonprofits.
    After applying the four-factor analysis, a recipient may conclude 
that different language assistance measures are sufficient for the 
different types of programs or activities in which it engages. For 
instance, some of a recipient's activities will be more important than 
others and/or have greater impact on or contact with LEP persons, and 
thus may require more in the way of language assistance. The 
flexibility that recipients have in addressing the needs of the LEP 
populations they serve does not diminish, and should not be used to 
minimize, the obligation that those needs be addressed. HUD recipients 
should apply the following four factors to the various kinds of 
contacts that they have with the public to assess language needs and 
decide what reasonable steps they should take to ensure meaningful 
access for LEP persons.

A. The Number or Proportion of LEP Persons Served or Encountered in the 
Eligible Service Population

    One factor in determining what language services recipients should 
provide is the number or proportion of LEP persons from a particular 
language group served or encountered in the eligible service 
population. The greater the number or proportion of these LEP persons, 
the more likely language services are needed. Ordinarily, persons 
``eligible to be served, or likely to be directly affected, by'' a 
recipient's program or activity are those who are served or encountered 
in the eligible service population. This population will be program-
specific, and includes persons who are in the geographic area that has 
been approved by HUD as the recipient's jurisdiction or service area. 
However, where, for instance, a public housing project serves a large 
LEP population, the appropriate service area for LEP services is most 
likely the public housing project neighborhood, and not the entire 
population served by the public housing agency. Where no service area 
has previously been approved, the relevant service area may be that 
which is approved by state or local authorities or designated by the 
recipient itself, provided that these designations do not themselves 
discriminatorily exclude certain populations. Appendix A provides 
examples to assist in determining the relevant service area. When 
considering the number or proportion of LEP persons in a service area, 
recipients should consider LEP parent(s) when their English-proficient 
or LEP minor children and dependents encounter the recipient.
    Recipients should first examine their prior experiences with LEP 
encounters and determine the breadth and scope of language services 
that were needed. In conducting this analysis, it is important to 
include language minority

[[Page 70971]]

populations that are eligible for their programs or activities but may 
be underserved because of existing language barriers. Other data should 
be consulted to refine or validate a recipient's prior experience, 
including the latest census data for the area served, data from school 
systems and from community organizations, and data from State and local 
governments. The focus of the analysis is on lack of English 
proficiency, not the ability to speak more than one language. Note that 
demographic data may indicate the most frequently spoken languages 
other than English and the percentage of people who speak that language 
who speak or understand English less than well. Some of the most 
commonly spoken languages other than English may be spoken by people 
who are also overwhelmingly proficient in English. Thus, they may not 
be the languages spoken most frequently by LEP persons. When using 
demographic data, it is important to focus in on the languages spoken 
by those who are not proficient in English. Community agencies, school 
systems, grassroots and faith-based organizations, legal aid entities, 
and others can often assist in identifying populations for whom 
outreach is needed and who would benefit from the recipients' programs 
and activities were language services provided.

B. The Frequency With Which LEP Individuals Come Into Contact With the 

    Recipients should assess, as accurately as possible, the frequency 
with which they have or should have contact with an LEP individual from 
different language groups seeking assistance. The more frequent the 
contact with a particular language group, the more likely that enhanced 
language services in that language are needed. The steps that are 
reasonable for a recipient that serves an LEP person on a one-time 
basis will be very different than those expected from a recipient that 
serves LEP persons daily. It is also advisable to consider the 
frequency of different types of language contacts. For example, 
frequent contacts with Spanish-speaking people who are LEP may require 
certain assistance in Spanish. Less frequent contact with different 
language groups may suggest a different and less intensified solution. 
If an LEP individual accesses a program or service on a daily basis, a 
recipient has greater duties than if the same individual's program or 
activity contact is unpredictable or infrequent. But even recipients 
that serve LEP persons on an unpredictable or infrequent basis should 
use this balancing analysis to determine what to do if an LEP 
individual seeks services under the program in question. This plan need 
not be intricate. It may be as simple as being prepared to use one of 
the commercially available telephonic interpretation services to obtain 
immediate interpreter services. In applying this standard, recipients 
should take care to consider whether appropriate outreach to LEP 
persons could increase the frequency of contact with LEP language 

C. The Nature and Importance of the Program, Activity, or Service 
Provided by the Program

    The more important the activity, information, service, or program, 
or the greater the possible consequences of the contact to the LEP 
persons, the more likely language services are needed. The obligations 
to communicate rights to a person who is being evicted differ, for 
example, from those to provide recreational programming. A recipient 
needs to determine whether denial or delay of access to services or 
information could have serious or even life-threatening implications 
for the LEP individual. Decisions by HUD, another federal, state, or 
local entity, or the recipient to make a specific activity compulsory 
in order to participate in the program, such as filling out particular 
forms, participating in administrative hearings, or other activities, 
can serve as strong evidence of the program's importance.

D. The Resources Available to the Recipient and Costs

    A recipient's level of resources and the costs that would be 
imposed on it may have an impact on the nature of the steps it should 
take. Smaller recipients with more limited budgets are not expected to 
provide the same level of language services as larger recipients with 
larger budgets. In addition, ``reasonable steps'' may cease to be 
reasonable where the costs imposed substantially exceed the benefits.
    Resource and cost issues, however, can often be reduced by 
technological advances; the sharing of language assistance materials 
and services among and between recipients, advocacy groups, and federal 
grant agencies; and reasonable business practices. Where appropriate, 
training bilingual staff to act as interpreters and translators, 
information sharing through industry groups, telephonic and video 
conferencing interpretation services, pooling resources and 
standardizing documents to reduce translation needs, using qualified 
translators and interpreters to ensure that documents need not be 
``fixed'' later and that inaccurate interpretations do not cause delay 
or other costs, centralizing interpreter and translator services to 
achieve economies of scale, or the formalized use of qualified 
community volunteers, for example, may help reduce costs. Recipients 
should carefully explore the most cost-effective means of delivering 
competent and accurate language services before limiting services due 
to resource concerns. Small recipients with limited resources may find 
that entering into a bulk telephonic interpretation service contract 
will prove cost effective. Large entities and those entities serving a 
significant number or proportion of LEP persons should ensure that 
their resource limitations are well-substantiated before using this 
factor as a reason to limit language assistance. Such recipients may 
find it useful to be able to articulate, through documentation or in 
some other reasonable manner, their process for determining that 
language services would be limited based on resources or costs.
    This four-factor analysis necessarily implicates the ``mix'' of LEP 
services required. Recipients have two main ways to provide language 
services: oral interpretation either in person or via telephone 
interpretation service (hereinafter ``interpretation''); and written 
translation (hereinafter ``translation''). Oral interpretation can 
range from on-site interpreters for critical services provided to a 
high volume of LEP persons to access through commercially available 
telephonic interpretation services. Written translation, likewise, can 
range from translation of an entire document to translation of a short 
description of the document. In some cases, language services should be 
made available on an expedited basis while in others the LEP individual 
may be referred to another office of the recipient for language 
    The correct mix should be based on what is both necessary and 
reasonable in light of the four-factor analysis. For instance, a public 
housing provider in a largely Hispanic neighborhood may need immediate 
oral interpreters available and should give serious consideration to 
hiring some bilingual staff. (Of course, many have already made such 
arrangements.) In contrast, there may be circumstances where the 
importance and nature of the activity and number or proportion and 
frequency of contact with LEP persons may be low and the costs and 
resources needed to provide language services may be high--such as in 
the case of a voluntary public tour of a recreational

[[Page 70972]]

facility--in which pre-arranged language services for the particular 
service may not be necessary. Regardless of the type of language 
service provided, quality and accuracy of those services can be 
critical in order to avoid serious consequences to the LEP person and 
to the recipient. Recipients have substantial flexibility in 
determining the appropriate mix.

VI. Selecting Language Assistance Services

    Recipients have two main ways to provide language services: oral, 
and written language services. Quality and accuracy of the language 
service is critical in order to avoid serious consequences to the LEP 
person and to the recipient.

A. Oral Language Services (Interpretation)

    Interpretation is the act of listening to something in one language 
(source language) and orally translating it into another language 
(target language). Where interpretation is needed and is reasonable, 
recipients should consider some or all of the following options for 
providing competent interpreters in a timely manner:
1. Competence of Interpreters
    When providing oral assistance, recipients should ensure competency 
of the language service provider, no matter which of the strategies 
outlined below are used. Competency requires more than self-
identification as bilingual. Some bilingual staff and community 
volunteers, for instance, may be able to communicate effectively in a 
different language when communicating information directly in that 
language, but not be competent to interpret in and out of English. 
Likewise, they may not be able to do written translations.
    Competency to interpret, however, does not necessarily mean formal 
certification as an interpreter, although certification is helpful. 
When using interpreters, recipients should ensure that they:
    [sbull] Demonstrate proficiency in and ability to communicate 
information accurately in both English and in the other language and 
identify and employ the appropriate mode of interpreting (e.g., 
consecutive, simultaneous, summarization, or sight translation);
    [sbull] Have knowledge in both languages of any specialized terms 
or concepts peculiar to the entity's program or activity and of any 
particularized vocabulary and phraseology used by the LEP person and 
understand and follow confidentiality and impartiality rules to the 
same extent the recipient employee for whom they are interpreting or to 
the extent their position requires or both. Many languages have 
``regionalisms,'' or differences in usage. For instance, a word that 
may be understood to mean something in Spanish for someone from Cuba 
may not be so understood by someone from Mexico. In addition, because 
there may be languages which do not have an appropriate direct 
interpretation of some courtroom or legal terms and the interpreter 
should be so aware and be able to provide the most appropriate 
interpretation. The interpreter should likely make the recipient aware 
of the issue and the interpreter and recipient can then work to develop 
a consistent and appropriate set of descriptions of these terms in that 
language that can be used again, when appropriate; and
    [sbull] Understand and adhere to their role as interpreters without 
deviating into a role as counselor, legal advisor, or other roles 
(particularly in court, administrative hearings, or law enforcement 
    Some recipients may have additional self-imposed requirements for 
interpreters. Where individual rights depend on precise, complete, and 
accurate interpretation or translations, the use of certified 
interpreters is strongly encouraged. For those languages in which no 
formal accreditation or certification currently exists, recipients 
should consider a formal process for establishing the credentials of 
the interpreter. Where such proceedings are lengthy, the interpreter 
will likely need breaks and team interpreting may be appropriate to 
ensure accuracy and to prevent errors caused by mental fatigue of 
    While quality and accuracy of language services is critical, the 
quality and accuracy of language services is nonetheless part of the 
appropriate mix of LEP services required. The quality and accuracy of 
language services in an abused woman's shelter, for example, must be 
extraordinarily high, while the quality and accuracy of language 
services in a recreational program need not meet the same exacting 
    Finally, when interpretation is needed and is reasonable, it should 
be provided in a timely manner. To be meaningfully effective, language 
assistance should be timely. While there is no single definition for 
``timely'' applicable to all types of interactions at all times by all 
types of recipients, one clear guide is that the language assistance 
should be provided at a time and place that avoids the effective denial 
of the service, benefit, or right at issue or the imposition of an 
undue burden on or delay in important rights, benefits, or services to 
the LEP person. For example, when the timeliness of services is 
important, such as with certain activities of HUD recipients providing 
housing, health, and safety services, and when important legal rights 
are at issue, a recipient would likely not be providing meaningful 
access if it had one bilingual staff person available one day a week to 
provide the service. Such conduct would likely result in delays for LEP 
persons that would be significantly greater than those for English 
proficient persons. Conversely, where access to or exercise of a 
service, benefit, or right is not effectively precluded by a reasonable 
delay, language assistance can likely be delayed for a reasonable 
2. Hiring Bilingual Staff
    When particular languages are encountered often, hiring bilingual 
staff offers one of the best, and often most economical, options. 
Recipients can, for example, fill public contact positions, such as 
persons who take public housing or Section 8 applications, with staff 
who are bilingual and competent to communicate directly with LEP 
persons in their own language. If bilingual staff is also used to 
interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to orally 
interpret written documents from English into another language, they 
should be competent in the skill of interpreting. Being bilingual does 
not necessarily mean that a person has the ability to interpret. In 
addition, there may be times when the role of the bilingual employee 
may conflict with the role of an interpreter (for instance, a bilingual 
intake specialist would probably not be able to perform effectively the 
role of an administrative hearing interpreter and intake specialist at 
the same time, even if the intake specialist were a qualified 
interpreter). Effective management strategies, including any 
appropriate adjustments in assignments and protocols for using 
bilingual staff, can ensure that bilingual staff is fully and 
appropriately utilized. When bilingual staff cannot meet all of the 
language service obligations of the recipient, the recipient should 
turn to other options.
3. Hiring Staff Interpreters
    Hiring interpreters may be most helpful where there is a frequent 
need for interpreting services in one or more languages. Depending on 
the facts, sometimes it may be necessary and reasonable to provide on-
site interpreters to provide accurate and meaningful communication with 
an LEP person.

[[Page 70973]]

4. Contracting for Interpreters
    Contract interpreters may be a cost-effective option when there is 
no regular need for a particular language skill. In addition to 
commercial and other private providers, many community-based 
organizations and mutual assistance associations provide interpretation 
services for particular languages. Contracting with and providing 
training regarding the recipient's programs and processes to these 
organizations can be a cost-effective option for providing language 
services to LEP persons from those language groups.
5. Using Telephone Interpreter Services
    Telephone interpreter service lines often offer speedy interpreting 
assistance in many different languages. They may be particularly 
appropriate where the mode of communicating with an English proficient 
person would also be over the phone. Although telephonic interpretation 
services are useful in many situations, it is important to ensure that, 
when using such services, the interpreters used are competent to 
interpret any technical or legal terms specific to a particular program 
that may be important parts of the conversation. Nuances in language 
and non-verbal communication can often assist an interpreter and cannot 
be recognized over the phone. Video teleconferencing may sometimes help 
to resolve this issue where necessary. In addition, where documents are 
being discussed, it is important to give telephonic interpreters 
adequate opportunity to review the document prior to the discussion and 
any logistical problems should be addressed.
6. Using Community Volunteers
    In addition to consideration of bilingual staff, staff 
interpreters, or contract interpreters (either in-person or by 
telephone) as options to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons, use 
of recipient-coordinated community volunteers, working with, for 
instance, community-based organizations may provide a cost-effective 
supplemental language assistance strategy under appropriate 
circumstances. They may be particularly useful in providing language 
access for a recipient's less critical programs and activities. To the 
extent the recipient relies on community volunteers, it is often best 
to use volunteers who are trained in the information or services of the 
program and can communicate directly with LEP persons in their 
language. Just as with all interpreters, community volunteers used to 
interpret between English speakers and LEP persons, or to orally 
translate documents, should be competent in the skill of interpreting 
and knowledgeable about applicable confidentiality and impartiality 
rules. Recipients should consider formal arrangements with community-
based organizations that provide volunteers to address these concerns 
and to help ensure that services are available more regularly.
7. Use of Family Members or Friends as Interpreters
    Although recipients should not plan to rely on an LEP person's 
family members, friends, or other informal interpreters to provide 
meaningful access to important programs and activities, where LEP 
persons so desire, they should be permitted to use, at their own 
expense, an interpreter of their own choosing (whether a professional 
interpreter, family member, or friend) in place of or as a supplement 
to the free language services expressly offered by the recipient. LEP 
persons may feel more comfortable when a trusted family member or 
friend acts as an interpreter. In addition, in exigent circumstances 
that are not reasonably foreseeable, temporary use of interpreters not 
provided by the recipient may be necessary. However, with proper 
planning and implementation, recipients should be able to avoid most 
such situations.
    Recipients, however, should take special care to ensure that 
family, legal guardians, caretakers, and other informal interpreters 
are appropriate in light of the circumstances and subject matter of the 
program, service or activity, including protection of the recipient's 
own administrative or enforcement interest in accurate interpretation. 
In many circumstances, family members (especially children) or friends 
are not competent to provide quality and accurate interpretations. 
Issues of confidentiality, privacy, or conflict of interest may also 
arise. LEP persons may feel uncomfortable revealing or describing 
sensitive, confidential, or potentially embarrassing medical, law 
enforcement (e.g., sexual or violent assaults), family, or financial 
information to a family member, friend, or member of the local 
community. For example, special circumstances may raise additional 
serious concerns regarding the voluntary nature, conflicts of interest, 
and privacy issues surrounding the use of family members and friends as 
interpreters, particularly where an important right, benefit, service, 
disciplinary concern, or access to personal or law enforcement 
information is at stake. In addition to ensuring competency and 
accuracy of the interpretation, recipients should take these special 
circumstances into account when determining whether a beneficiary makes 
a knowing and voluntary choice to use another family member or friend 
as an interpreter. Furthermore, such informal interpreters may have a 
personal connection to the LEP person or an undisclosed conflict of 
interest, such as the desire to protect themselves or another 
perpetrator in a domestic violence or other criminal matter. For these 
reasons, when oral language services are necessary, recipients should 
generally offer competent interpreter services free of cost to the LEP 
person. For HUD recipient programs and activities, this is particularly 
true in a courtroom, an administrative hearing, or situations in which 
health, safety, or access to important housing benefits and services 
are at stake, or when credibility and accuracy are important to protect 
an individual's rights and access to important services.
    An example of such a case is when a property manager/or housing 
authority security or local police respond to a domestic disturbance. 
In such a case, use of family members or neighbors to interpret for the 
alleged victim, perpetrator, or witnesses may raise serious issues of 
competency, confidentiality, and conflict of interest and is thus 
inappropriate. While issues of competency, confidentiality, and 
conflict of interest in the use of family members (especially children) 
or friends often make their use inappropriate, the use of these 
individuals as interpreters may be an appropriate option where proper 
application of the four factors would lead to a conclusion that 
recipient-provided services are not necessary. An example of this is a 
voluntary tour of a community recreational facility built with 
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds offered to the public. 
There, the importance and nature of the activity may be relatively low 
and unlikely to implicate issues of confidentiality, conflict of 
interest, or the need for accuracy. In addition, the resources needed 
and costs of providing language services may be high. In such a 
setting, an LEP person's use of family, friends, or others may be 
    If the LEP person voluntarily chooses to provide his/her own 
interpreter, a recipient should consider whether a record of that 
choice and of the recipient's offer of assistance is appropriate. Where 
precise, complete, and accurate interpretations or translations of 
information and/or testimony are critical for legal reasons,

[[Page 70974]]

or where the competency of the LEP person's interpreter is not 
established, a recipient might decide to provide its own, independent 
interpreter, even if an LEP person wants to use his or her own 
interpreter as well. Extra caution should be exercised when the LEP 
person chooses to use a minor as the interpreter. While the LEP 
person's decision should be respected, there may be additional issues 
of competency, confidentiality, or conflict of interest when the choice 
involves using children as interpreters. The recipient should take care 
to ensure that the LEP person's choice is voluntary, that the LEP 
person is aware of the possible problems if the preferred interpreter 
is a minor child, and that the LEP person knows that a competent 
interpreter could be provided by the recipient at no cost.

B. Written Language Services (Translation)

    Translation is the replacement of a written text from one language 
(source language) into an equivalent written text in another language 
(target language). It should be kept in mind that many LEP persons may 
not be able to read their native languages and back-up availability of 
oral interpretation is always advantageous.
1. What Documents Should Be Translated?
    After applying the four-factor analysis, a recipient may determine 
that an effective LEP plan for its particular program or activity 
includes the translation of vital written materials into the language 
of each frequently encountered LEP group eligible to be served and/or 
likely to be affected by the recipient's program.
    Such written materials could include, for example:
    [sbull] Consent and complaint forms;
    [sbull] Intake forms with the potential for important consequences;
    [sbull] Written notices of rights, denial, loss, or decreases in 
benefits or services, and other hearings;
    [sbull] Notices of eviction;
    [sbull] Notices advising LEP persons of free language assistance;
    [sbull] Leases and tenant rules; and/or
    [sbull] Applications to participate in a recipient's program or 
activity or to receive recipient benefits or services.
    Whether or not a document (or the information it solicits) is 
``vital'' may depend upon the importance of the program, information, 
encounter, or service involved, and the consequence to the LEP person 
if the information in question is not provided accurately or in a 
timely manner. For instance, applications for certain recreational 
activities should not generally be considered vital documents, whereas 
applications for housing could be considered vital. Where appropriate, 
recipients are encouraged to create a plan for consistently 
determining, over time and across its various activities, what 
documents are ``vital'' to the meaningful access of the LEP populations 
they serve.
    Classifying a document as vital or non-vital is sometimes 
difficult, especially in the case of outreach materials like brochures 
or other information on rights and services. Awareness of rights or 
services is an important part of ``meaningful access.'' Lack of 
awareness that a particular program, right, or service exists may 
effectively deny LEP persons meaningful access. Thus, where a recipient 
is engaged in community outreach activities in furtherance of its 
activities, it should regularly assess the needs of the populations 
frequently encountered or affected by the program or activity to 
determine whether certain critical outreach materials should be 
translated. Community organizations may be helpful in determining what 
outreach materials may be most helpful to translate. In addition, the 
recipient should consider whether translations of outreach material may 
be made more effective when done in tandem with other outreach methods, 
including utilizing the ethnic media, schools, grassroots and faith-
based organizations, and community organizations to spread a message.
    Sometimes a document includes both vital and non-vital information. 
This may be the case when the document is very large. It may also be 
the case when the title and a phone number for obtaining more 
information on the contents of the document in frequently encountered 
languages other than English is critical, but the document is sent out 
to the general public and cannot reasonably be translated into many 
languages. Thus, vital information may include, for instance, the 
provision of information in appropriate languages other than English 
regarding where a LEP person might obtain an interpretation or 
translation of the document.
2. Into What Languages Should Documents Be Translated?
    The languages spoken by the LEP persons with whom the recipient has 
contact determine the languages into which vital documents should be 
translated. A distinction should be made, however, between languages 
that are frequently encountered by a recipient and less commonly 
encountered languages. Many recipients serve communities in large 
cities or across the country. They regularly serve LEP persons who 
speak dozens and sometimes over 100 different languages. To translate 
all written materials into all of those languages is unrealistic. 
Although recent technological advances have made it easier for 
recipients to store and share translated documents, such an undertaking 
would incur substantial costs and require substantial resources. 
Nevertheless, well-substantiated claims of lack of resources to 
translate all vital documents into dozens of languages do not 
necessarily relieve the recipient of the obligation to translate those 
documents into at least several of the more frequently-encountered 
languages and to set benchmarks for continued translations into the 
remaining languages over time. As a result, the extent of the 
recipient's obligation to provide written translations of documents 
should be determined by the recipient on a case-by-case basis, looking 
at the totality of the circumstances in light of the four-factor 
analysis. Because translation is a one-time expense, consideration 
should be given to whether the upfront cost of translating a document 
(as opposed to oral interpretation) should be amortized over the likely 
lifespan of the document when applying this four-factor analysis.
3. Safe Harbor
    Many recipients would like to ensure with greater certainty that 
they comply with their obligations to provide written translations in 
languages other than English. Paragraphs (a) and (b) outline the 
circumstances that can provide a ``safe harbor'' for recipients 
regarding the requirements for translation of written materials. A 
``safe harbor'' means that if a recipient provides written translations 
under these circumstances, such action will be considered strong 
evidence of compliance with the recipient's written-translation 
obligations. The failure to provide written translations under the 
circumstances outlined in paragraphs (a) and (b) does not mean there is 
non-compliance. Rather, they provide a common starting point for 
recipients to consider: whether and at what point the importance of the 
service, benefit, or activity involved; the nature of the information 
sought; and the number or proportion of LEP persons served call for 
written translations of commonly-used forms into frequently-encountered 
languages other than English. Therefore, these paragraphs merely 
provide a guide for recipients that would like greater certainty of 
compliance than can be

[[Page 70975]]

provided by a fact-intensive, four-factor analysis.
    Example: Even if the safe harbors are not used, if written 
translation of a certain document(s) would be so burdensome as to 
defeat the legitimate objectives of its program, the translation of the 
written materials is not necessary. Other ways of providing meaningful 
access, such as effective oral interpretation of certain vital 
documents, might be acceptable under such circumstances.
    The following actions will be considered strong evidence of 
compliance with the recipient's written-translation obligations:
    (a) The HUD recipient provides written translations of vital 
documents for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes 5 
percent or 1,000 persons, whichever is less, of the population of 
persons eligible to be served or likely to be affected or encountered. 
Translation of other documents, if needed, can be provided orally; or
    (b) If there are fewer than 50 persons in a language group that 
reaches the 5 percent trigger in (a), the recipient does not translate 
vital written materials, but provides written notice in the primary 
language of the LEP language group of the right to receive competent 
oral interpretation of those written materials, free of cost.
    These safe harbor provisions apply to the translation of written 
documents only. They do not affect the requirement to provide 
meaningful access to LEP persons through competent oral interpreters 
where oral language services are needed and are reasonable. For 
example, housing facilities should, where appropriate, ensure that 
leases have been explained to LEP residents, at intake meetings, for 
instance, prior to taking adverse action against them.
4. Competence of Translators
    As with oral interpreters, translators of written documents should 
be competent. Many of the same considerations apply. However, the skill 
of translating is very different from the skill of interpreting, and a 
person who is a competent interpreter may or may not be competent to 
    Particularly where legal or other vital documents are being 
translated, competence can often be achieved by use of certified 
translators. Certification or accreditation may not always be possible 
or necessary. For those languages in which no formal accreditation 
currently exists, a particular level of membership in a professional 
translation association can provide some indicator of professionalism. 
Competence can often be ensured by having a second, independent 
translator ``check'' the work of the primary translator. Alternatively, 
one translator can translate the document, and a second, independent 
translator could translate it back into English to check that the 
appropriate meaning has been conveyed. This is called ``back 
    Translators should understand the expected reading level of the 
audience and, where appropriate, have fundamental knowledge about the 
target language group's vocabulary and phraseology. Sometimes direct 
translation of materials results in a translation that is written at a 
much more difficult level than the English language version or has no 
relevant equivalent meaning. For instance, there may be languages that 
do not have an appropriate direct translation of some English language 
terms and the translator should be able to provide an appropriate 
translation. The translator should likely also make the recipient aware 
of this. Recipients can then work with translators to develop a 
consistent and appropriate set of descriptions of these terms in that 
language that can be used again, when appropriate. Recipients will find 
it more effective and less costly if they try to maintain consistency 
in the words and phrases used to translate terms of art and legal or 
other technical concepts. Creating or using already-created glossaries 
of commonly used terms may be useful for LEP persons and translators 
and cost-effective for the recipient. Providing translators with 
examples of previous translations of similar material by the recipient, 
other recipients, or federal agencies may be helpful. Community 
organizations may be able to help consider whether a document is 
written at a good level for the audience. Likewise, consistency in the 
words and phrases used to translate terms of art, legal, or other 
technical concepts helps avoid confusion by LEP persons and may reduce 
    While quality and accuracy of translation services is critical, the 
quality and accuracy of translation services is nonetheless part of the 
appropriate mix of LEP services required. For instance, documents that 
are simple and have no legal or other consequence for LEP persons who 
rely on them may require translators that are less skilled than 
important documents with legal or other information upon which reliance 
has important consequences (including, e.g., information or documents 
of HUD recipients regarding certain safety issues and certain legal 
rights or programmatic or other obligations). The permanent nature of 
written translations, however, imposes additional responsibility on the 
recipient to ensure that the quality and accuracy permit meaningful 
access by LEP persons.

VII. Elements of Effective Plan on Language Assistance for LEP Persons

    After completing the four-factor analysis and deciding what 
language assistance services are appropriate, a recipient should 
develop an implementation plan to address the identified needs of the 
LEP populations they serve. Recipients have considerable flexibility in 
developing this plan. The development and maintenance of a 
periodically-updated written plan on language assistance for LEP 
persons (``LEP plan'') for use by recipient employees serving the 
public will likely be the most appropriate and cost-effective means of 
documenting compliance and providing a framework for the provision of 
timely and reasonable language assistance. Moreover, such written plans 
would likely provide additional benefits to a recipient's managers in 
the areas of training, administration, planning, and budgeting. These 
benefits should lead most recipients to document in a written LEP plan 
their language assistance services, and how staff and LEP persons can 
access those services. Despite these benefits, certain HUD recipients, 
such as recipients serving very few LEP persons and recipients with 
very limited resources, may choose not to develop a written LEP plan. 
However, the absence of a written LEP plan does not obviate the 
underlying obligation to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons to a 
recipient's program or activities. Accordingly, in the event that a 
recipient elects not to develop a written plan, it should consider 
alternative ways to articulate in some other reasonable manner a plan 
for providing meaningful access. Entities having significant contact 
with LEP persons, such as schools, grassroots and faith-based 
organizations, community groups, and groups working with new immigrants 
can be very helpful in providing important input into this planning 
process from the beginning.
    The following five steps may be helpful in designing an LEP plan 
and are typically part of effective implementation plans.

(1) Identifying LEP Individuals Who Need Language Assistance

    The first two factors in the four-factor analysis require an 
assessment of the number or proportion of LEP

[[Page 70976]]

individuals eligible to be served or encountered and the frequency of 
encounters. This requires recipients to identify LEP persons with whom 
they have contact. One way to determine the language of communication 
is to use language identification cards (or ``I speak'' cards), which 
invite LEP persons to identify their language needs to staff. Such 
cards, for instance, might say, ``I speak Spanish'' in both Spanish and 
English, ``I speak Vietnamese'' in both Vietnamese and English, etc. To 
reduce costs of compliance, the federal government has made a set of 
these cards available on the Internet. The Census Bureau ``I speak'' 
card can be found and downloaded at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/cor/13166.htm.
 When records are normally kept of past interactions with 

members of the public, the language of the LEP person can be included 
as part of the record. In addition to helping employees identify the 
language of LEP persons they encounter, this process will help in 
future applications of the first two factors of the four-factor 
analysis. In addition, posting notices in commonly encountered 
languages notifying LEP persons of language assistance will encourage 
them to self-identify.

(2) Language Assistance Measures

    An effective LEP plan would likely include information about the 
ways in which language assistance will be provided. For instance, 
recipients may want to include information on at least the following:
    [sbull] Types of language services available;
    [sbull] How staff can obtain those services;
    [sbull] How to respond to LEP callers;
    [sbull] How to respond to written communications from LEP persons;
    [sbull] How to respond to LEP persons who have in-person contact 
with recipient staff; and
    [sbull] How to ensure competency of interpreters and translation 

(3) Training Staff

    Staff should know their obligations to provide meaningful access to 
information and services for LEP persons. An effective LEP plan would 
likely include training to ensure that:
    [sbull] Staff know about LEP policies and procedures; and
    [sbull] Staff having contact with the public is trained to work 
effectively with in-person and telephone interpreters.
    Recipients may want to include this training as part of their 
orientation for new employees. It is important to ensure that all 
employees in public contact positions (or having contact with those in 
a recipient's custody) are properly trained. Recipients have 
flexibility in deciding the manner in which the training is provided. 
The more frequent the contact with LEP persons, the greater the need 
will be for in-depth training. Staff with little or no contact with LEP 
persons may only have to be aware of an LEP plan. However, management 
staff, even if they do not interact regularly with LEP persons, should 
be fully aware of and understand the plan so they can reinforce its 
importance and ensure its implementation by staff.

(4) Providing Notice to LEP Persons

    Once an agency has decided, based on the four factors, that it will 
provide language services, it is important for the recipient to let LEP 
persons know that those services are available and that they are free 
of charge. Recipients should provide this notice in a language that LEP 
persons will understand. Examples of notification that recipients 
should consider include:
    [sbull] Posting signs in common areas, offices, and anywhere 
applications are taken. When language assistance is needed to ensure 
meaningful access to information and services, it is important to 
provide notice in appropriate languages in initial points of contact so 
that LEP persons can learn how to access those language services. This 
is particularly true in geographic areas with high volumes of LEP 
persons seeking access to the recipient's major programs and 
activities. For instance, signs in offices where applications are taken 
could state that free language assistance is available. The signs 
should be translated into the most common languages encountered. The 
signs should explain how to receive language assistance. The Social 
Security Administration has made such signs available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.ssa.gov/multilanguage/langlist1.htm.
 These signs could, for 

example, be modified for recipient use;
    [sbull] Stating in outreach documents that language services are 
available from the agency. Announcements could be in, for instance, 
brochures, booklets, and in outreach and recruitment information. These 
statements should be translated into the most common languages and 
could be ``tagged'' onto the front of common documents;
    [sbull] Working with grassroots and faith-based community 
organizations and other stakeholders to inform LEP individuals of the 
recipients' services, including the availability of language assistance 
    [sbull] Using a telephone voice mail menu. The menu could be in the 
most common languages encountered. It should provide information about 
available language assistance services and how to get them;
    [sbull] Including notices in local newspapers in languages other 
than English;
    [sbull] Providing notices on non-English-language radio and 
television stations about the available language assistance services 
and how to get them; and
    [sbull] Presentations and/or notices at schools and grassroots and 
faith-based organizations.

(5) Monitoring and Updating the LEP Plan

    Recipients should, where appropriate, have a process for 
determining, on an ongoing basis, whether new documents, programs, 
services, and activities need to be made accessible for LEP persons, 
and they may want to provide notice of any changes in services to the 
LEP public and to employees. In addition, recipients should consider 
whether changes in demographics, types of services, or other needs 
require annual reevaluation of their LEP plan. Less frequent 
reevaluation may be more appropriate where demographics, services, and 
needs are more static. One good way to evaluate the LEP plan is to seek 
feedback from the community that the plan serves.
    In their reviews, recipients may want to consider assessing changes 
    [sbull] Current LEP populations in the housing jurisdiction 
geographic area or population affected or encountered;
    [sbull] Frequency of encounters with LEP language groups;
    [sbull] Nature and importance of activities to LEP persons;
    [sbull] Availability of resources, including technological advances 
and sources of additional resources, and the costs imposed;
    [sbull] Whether existing assistance is meeting the needs of LEP 
    [sbull] Whether staff knows and understands the LEP plan and how to 
implement it; and
    [sbull] Whether identified sources for assistance are still 
available and viable.
    In addition to these five elements, effective plans set clear 
goals, management accountability, and opportunities for community input 
and planning throughout the process.

VIII. Voluntary Compliance Effort

    The goal for Title VI and Title VI regulatory enforcement is to 
achieve voluntary compliance. The requirement to provide meaningful 
access to LEP persons is enforced and implemented by HUD through the 
procedures identified in the Title VI regulations. These procedures 
include complaint

[[Page 70977]]

investigations, compliance reviews, efforts to secure voluntary 
compliance, and technical assistance.
    The Title VI regulations provide that HUD will investigate whenever 
it receives a complaint, report, or other information that alleges or 
indicates possible noncompliance with Title VI or its regulations. The 
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is responsible for 
conducting the investigation to ensure that recipients are in 
compliance with civil rights related programs requirements. If the 
investigation results in a finding of compliance, HUD will inform the 
recipient in writing of this determination, including the basis for the 
determination. HUD uses voluntary methods to resolve most complaints. 
However, if a case is fully investigated and results in a finding of 
noncompliance, HUD must inform the recipient of the noncompliance 
through a ``Letter of Findings'' that sets out the areas of 
noncompliance and the steps that must be taken to correct the 
noncompliance. It must attempt to secure voluntary compliance through 
informal means. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, HUD must 
secure compliance through the termination of federal assistance after 
the HUD recipient has been given an opportunity for an administrative 
hearing and/or by referring the matter to a DOJ litigation section to 
seek injunctive relief or pursue other enforcement proceedings. HUD 
engages in voluntary compliance efforts and provides technical 
assistance to recipients at all stages of an investigation. During 
these efforts, HUD proposes reasonable timetables for achieving 
compliance and consults with and assists recipients in exploring cost-
effective ways of coming into compliance. In determining a recipient's 
compliance with the Title VI regulations, HUD's primary concern is to 
ensure that the recipient's policies and procedures provide meaningful 
access for LEP persons to the recipient's programs and activities.
    While all recipients must work toward building systems that will 
ensure access for LEP persons, HUD acknowledges that the implementation 
of a comprehensive system to serve LEP persons is a process and that a 
system will evolve over time as it is implemented and periodically 
reevaluated. As recipients take reasonable steps to provide meaningful 
access to federally-assisted programs and activities for LEP persons, 
HUD will look favorably on intermediate steps recipients take that are 
consistent with this Guidance, and that, as part of a broader 
implementation plan or schedule, move their service delivery system 
toward providing full access to LEP persons. This does not excuse 
noncompliance but instead recognizes that full compliance in all areas 
of a recipient's activities and for all potential language minority 
groups may reasonably require a series of implementing actions over a 
period of time. However, in developing any phased implementation 
schedule, HUD recipients should ensure that the provision of 
appropriate assistance for significant LEP populations or with respect 
to activities having a significant impact on the housing, health, 
safety, legal rights, or livelihood of beneficiaries is addressed 
first. Recipients are encouraged to document their efforts to provide 
LEP persons with meaningful access to federally-assisted programs and 

IX. Application to Specific Types of Recipients

    Appendix A of this Guidance provides examples of how the meaningful 
access requirement of the Title VI regulations applies to HUD-funded 
recipients. It further explains how recipients can apply the four 
factors to a range of situations to determine their responsibility for 
providing language services in each of these situations. This Guidance 
helps recipients identify the population they should consider when 
determining the extent and types of services to provide. For instance, 
it gives examples on how to apply this guidance in situations like:
    [sbull] Holding public meetings on the Consolidated Plans for 
Community Planning and Development Programs (CDBG, HOME, Housing 
Opportunity for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), and Emergency Shelter Grants 
    [sbull] Interviewing victims of housing discrimination;
    [sbull] Helping applicants to apply for public housing units;
    [sbull] Explaining lease provisions; and
    [sbull] Providing affirmative marketing housing counseling 

    Dated: November 10, 2003.
Carolyn Peoples,
Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

Appendix A: Application of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Guidance 
for HUD Recipients


    A wide range of entities receives federal financial assistance 
through HUD. HUD provides assistance to the following types of 
recipients, among others: assisted housing providers; public housing 
agencies; state and local governments; nonprofit organizations, 
including housing counseling agencies and grassroots community-based 
and faith-based organizations; state and local fair housing 
agencies; and providers of a variety of services. All HUD-funded 
recipients are required to certify to nondiscrimination and 
affirmatively furthering fair housing, either through the Office of 
Community Planning and Development's (CPD's) Consolidated Plan, (24 
CFR 91.225 (a)(1) and (b)(6), 91.325(a)(1), 91.425(a)(i)); the 
public housing agency plans processes (24 CFR 903.7(o)); or the 
certifications required in the competitive programs funded through 
the Super Notice of Funding Availability (SuperNOFA). [Note: HUD 
publishes the SuperNOFA on an annual basis. The non-discrimination 
and the affirmative furthering fair housing requirements are found 
in the General Section of the SuperNOFA]. The website for the 
SuperNOFA is: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.hud.gov/library/bookshelf18/supernofa/index.cfm.
 This LEP Guidance does not change current civil rights 

related program requirements contained in HUD regulations.
    This Appendix provides examples of how HUD recipients might 
apply the four-factor analysis described in the general guidance. 
The Guidance and examples in this Appendix are not meant to be 
exhaustive and may not apply in some situations. CPD's citizen 
participation plan requirement, in particular, specifically 
instructs jurisdictions that receive funds through the Consolidated 
Plan process to take appropriate actions to encourage the 
participation of ``* * * non-English speaking persons * * *'' (24 
CFR 91.105(a)(2)(ii), 91.115(a)(2)). Such recipients may, therefore, 
have processes in place to address the needs of their LEP 
beneficiaries that already take into consideration the four-factor 
analysis and meet the Title VI and regulatory requirements described 
in this Guidance.
    This Guidance does not supplant any constitutional, statutory, 
or regulatory provisions that may require LEP services. Rather, this 
Guidance clarifies the Title VI and regulatory obligation to 
address, in appropriate circumstances and in a reasonable manner, 
the language assistance needs of LEP persons beyond those required 
by the Constitution or by statutes and regulations other than Title 
VI and the Title VI regulations.
    Tribes and tribally-designated housing entities (TDHEs) are 
authorized to use federal housing assistance made available under 
the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 
1996 (NAHASDA, 25 U.S.C. 4101-4212) for low-income housing programs 
or activities for the specific benefit of tribal members or other 
Native Americans. Programs or activities funded in whole or in part 
with federal assistance made available under NAHASDA are exempt from 
Title VI and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Although 
Title VI may not apply to housing programs undertaken by these 
entities under NAHASDA, this Guidance may be a helpful technical 
assistance tool in determining whether and to what degree language 
assistance may be appropriate to ensure meaningful access by 
otherwise eligible low-income Native Americans.
    For many members of the public, exposure to housing and social 
service programs

[[Page 70978]]

begins and ends with their interactions with HUD recipients that are 
responding to a request for services or assistance or are conducting 
education and community outreach activities. The common thread 
running through interactions between the public and HUD recipients 
is the exchange of information. Recipients of HUD assistance, 
dependant on circumstances, have an obligation to provide 
appropriate types and levels of language services to LEP persons to 
ensure that they have meaningful access to, and choice of, housing 
and other HUD-funded programs. Language barriers can, for example, 
prevent persons from learning of housing opportunities or applying 
for and receiving such opportunities, learning of environmental or 
safety problems in their communities and of the means available for 
dealing with such problems, or effectively reporting housing 
discrimination to the local fair housing agency or HUD, thus 
hindering investigation of these allegations.
    Many recipients already provide language services in a wide 
variety of circumstances to obtain information effectively and help 
applicants obtain suitable housing or support services. For example, 
public housing agencies may have leases available in languages other 
than English as well as interpreters available to inform LEP persons 
of their rights and responsibilities. In areas where significant LEP 
populations reside, agencies may have forms and notices in languages 
other than English or they may employ bilingual intake personnel, 
housing counselors, and support staff. Such recipients may therefore 
have processes in place to address the needs of their LEP 
beneficiaries that meet the Title VI and regulatory requirements 
described in this Guidance. Such existing processes and their 
observed results can form a strong basis for applying the four-
factor analysis and complying with the Title VI regulations.

General Principles

    The touchstone of the four-factor analysis is reasonableness 
based upon: (a) The specific needs and capabilities of the LEP 
population among the beneficiaries of HUD programs (tenants, 
applicants, community residents, complainants, etc.); (b) the 
program purposes and capabilities of the HUD-funded recipients 
providing the services to the LEP population; and (c) local housing, 
demographic, and other community conditions and needs. Accordingly, 
the analysis cannot provide a single uniform answer on how service 
to LEP persons must be provided in all programs or activities in all 
situations or whether such service need be provided at all. Each HUD 
recipient's evaluation of the need and level of LEP services for 
each process in its services must be highly individualized.
    Before giving specific program examples, several general points 
should assist the wide variety of HUD recipients in applying this 

Factors (1) and (2): Target Audiences

    In evaluating the target audience, the recipient should take 
into account the number and proportion of LEP persons served or to 
be served in the target population as well as the frequency with 
which this target audience will or should be served.
    Factor (1): For most recipients, the target audience is defined 
in geographic rather than programmatic terms. In many cases, even if 
the overall number or proportion of LEP persons in the local area is 
low, the actual number of LEP persons served by the program may be 
    HUD recipients are required to reach out to, educate, and 
affirmatively market their services to potential beneficiaries in 
the geographic area who are least likely to apply for or receive the 
benefits of the program without such affirmative marketing (24 CFR 
200.625, 24 CFR 92.351, 24 CFR 903. 2(d)(1) and (2)). In many cases, 
those least likely to apply for a benefit are LEP persons. In 
addition, in some cases where there are few LEP persons in the 
immediate geographic area, affirmative marketing may require 
marketing to residents of adjoining areas, communities, or 
neighborhoods (24 CFR 200.625, 24 CFR 92.351, 903.2(d)(1) and (2)).
    The programs of many recipients require public meetings and 
input (24 CFR 91, subpart B; 24 CFR 903.13 (a); 24 CFR, part 964). 
Even within the large geographic area covered by a city government, 
certain target areas may have concentrations of LEP persons. These 
persons may be those who might be most affected by the issue being 
    In addition, some programs are specifically targeted to reach a 
particular audience (e.g., persons with HIV, the elderly, residents 
of high crime areas, persons with disabilities, and minority 
communities). In some communities, these populations may 
disproportionately be LEP persons.
    Factor (2): Frequency of contact should be considered in light 
of the specific program or the geographic area being served. Some 
education programs or complaint processing may only require a single 
or limited interaction with each LEP individual served. Housing, 
counseling, and supportive services programs require on-going 
communication. In the former case, the type and extent of LEP 
services may be of shorter duration, even for a greater number of 
LEP persons, than in the latter case and decisions must be made 

Factor (3): Importance of Service/Information/Program/Activity

    Given the critical role housing plays in maintaining quality of 
life, housing and complementary housing services rank high on the 
critical/non-critical continuum. However, this does not mean that 
all services and activities provided by HUD recipients must be 
equally accessible in languages other than English. For example, 
while clearly important to the quality of life in the community, 
certain recreational programs provided by a HUD recipient may not 
require the same level of interpretive services as does the 
recipient's underlying housing service. Nevertheless, the need for 
language services with respect to these programs should be 
considered in applying the four-factor analysis.

Factor (4): Costs vs. Resources and Benefits

    The final factor that must be taken into account is the cost of 
providing various services as opposed to the resources available to 
the HUD recipient providing the service.
    Type of Program: There are some programs for which translation 
and interpretation are an integral part of the funded program such 
that services should be provided in some way to any client that 
requires them. In important programs or activities (i.e., tenant 
selection and assignment, homeownership counseling, fair housing 
complaint intake, conflict resolution between tenant and landlords, 
etc.) that require one-on-one contact with clients, written 
translation and verbal interpretation services should be provided 
consistent with the four-factor analysis used earlier. Recipients 
could have competent bilingual or multilingual employees or 
community translators or interpreters to communicate with LEP 
persons in languages prevalent in the community. In some instances, 
a recipient may have to contract or negotiate with other agencies 
for services for LEP persons.
    Outreach: Affirmative marketing activities, as described above, 
require, at a minimum, written materials in other languages (24 CFR 
200.625, 24 CFR 92.351, 24 CFR 903.2 (d)(1) and (2)). As with 
counseling, affirmative marketing in large LEP communities could be 
fruitless without translation of outreach materials. Preferably, 
outreach workers would speak the language of the people to whom they 
are marketing.
    Size of Program: A major issue for deciding on the extent of 
translation/interpretation services is the size of the program. A 
large public housing agency (PHA) may be expected to have 
multilingual employees representing the LEP persons who may reside 
in the communities they serve. These employees may be involved in 
all activities: affirmative marketing, taking and verifying 
applications, counseling, explaining leases, holding tenant 
meetings, and on-going tenant contact, as well as translating 
documents into applicable languages. Similarly, a funded recipient 
receiving millions of dollars in CDBG Program money may be expected 
to provide translation/interpretation services in major local 
languages and have bilingual staff in those languages. Recipients 
with limited resources (i.e., PHAs with a small number of units, or 
small nonprofit organizations) should not be expected to provide the 
same level and comprehensiveness of services to the LEP population, 
but should consider reasonable steps, under the four-factor 
analysis, they can take in order to provide meaningful access.
    Relevance of Activity to the Program: A program with monthly 
information sessions in a community with many LEP persons speaking 
the same language should consider employing a bilingual employee who 
can hold these sessions in the LEP language. Alternatively, if a 
community's major LEP language does not have many applicants for the 
program, having an interpreter at sessions only when needed may be 
sufficient. (For example, the program could announce in major 
languages in any public notice of the meeting that anyone in need of 
an interpreter should call a certain number before the

[[Page 70979]]

meeting to request one--and ensure that someone at that number can 
communicate with the person.)
    Availability/Costs of Services: In a community with very few LEP 
persons speaking a particular language, interpretation/translation 
into a specific language and a HUD recipient with very few 
resources, the provision of service should be targeted at the most 
important activities. Recipients may decide, as appropriate, to 
provide those services through agreements with competent translators 
and interpreters in community-based organizations or through 
telephonic interpretation services.
    Services Provided: HUD recipients have a variety of options for 
providing language services. Under certain circumstances, when 
interpreters are required and recipients should provide competent 
interpreter services free of cost to the LEP person, LEP persons 
should be advised that they may choose either to use a competent 
interpreter provided free by the recipient or, at their own expense, 
secure the assistance of an interpreter of their own choosing. If 
the LEP person decides to provide his or her own interpreter, the 
provision of this choice to the LEP person and the LEP person's 
election should be documented in any written record generated with 
respect to the LEP person. Although LEP persons may sometimes look 
to bilingual family members or friends or other persons with whom 
they are comfortable for language assistance, there are many 
situations where an LEP person might want to rely upon recipient-
supplied interpretative services. Family and friends may not be 
available when and where they are needed, or they may not have the 
ability to interpret program-specific technical information. 
Alternatively, an individual may feel uncomfortable revealing or 
describing sensitive, confidential, or potentially embarrassing 
medical, family, or financial information to a family member, 
friend, or member of the local community.
    Similarly, there may be situations where a HUD recipient's own 
interests justify program provision of an interpreter regardless of 
whether the LEP individual also provides his or her own interpreter. 
For example, where precise, complete, and accurate interpretation of 
information is critical for lease enforcement, or at group meetings 
dealing with vital issues, such as pending displacement, a recipient 
might provide its own, independent interpreters, regardless of what 
recipients choose. This should ensure that information has been 
interpreted completely and is legally accurate.
    In emergency situations that are not reasonably foreseeable, the 
recipient may have to rely temporarily on non-professional language 
services. However, reliance on children is especially discouraged 
unless there is an extreme emergency and no language proficient 
adults are available.
    While all language services need to be competent, the greater 
the potential consequences, the greater the need to monitor 
interpretation services for quality. For example, it is important 
that interpreters of legal concepts be highly competent to translate 
legal and lease enforcement concepts as well as be extremely 
accurate in their interpretation when discussing relocation and 
displacement issues. It may be sufficient, however, for a desk clerk 
who is fully bilingual, but not skilled at interpreting, to help an 
LEP person complete an application in the language the LEP person 
and bilingual person have in common.

Applying the Four-Factor Analysis

    While all beneficiaries are important, the four-factor analysis 
requires prioritizing so that language services are targeted where 
most needed because of the nature and importance of the particular 
activity involved in relation to the costs of providing the service.
    This section provides examples of promising practices in which 
recipients may engage. Grantees or funded recipients are responsible 
for ensuring meaningful access to all portions of their program or 
activity, not just the portions to which HUD funds are targeted. So 
long as the language services are accurate, timely, and appropriate 
in the manner outlined in this guidance, the types of promising 
practices summarized below can assist recipients in meeting the 
meaningful access requirements of Title VI and the Title VI 

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

    The Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP): FHAP provides funds 
to state and local agencies that administer fair housing laws that 
are substantially equivalent to the federal Fair Housing Act.
    A local FHAP serves a small metropolitan area that has a 
population that is 3 percent Korean speaking, 25 percent Spanish-
speaking, and 72 percent English speaking. One of the FHAP agency's 
primary responsibilities is to process fair housing discrimination 
complaints. The FHAP office has many Hispanic complainants who are 
LEP and Spanish-speaking; therefore, it has hired a Hispanic intake 
clerk who is bilingual in Spanish and English. The Fair Housing 
Poster and the complaint form have been translated into Spanish. The 
office has a contract with a nonprofit Hispanic organization for 
interpreters on an as-needed basis its education and outreach 
activities to the Hispanic community. FHAP organizations are small 
and have limited resources. In competing for the available 
resources, the FHAP chose not to translate the material into the 
language of the Korean population this year. However, it has plans 
to translate material into the Korean language in coming years to 
address the accessibility needs of the LEP population.
    The Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP): FHIP assists fair 
housing activities that increase compliance with the Fair Housing 
Act and with the substantially equivalent fair housing laws 
administered by state and local government agencies under the Fair 
Housing Assistance Program (FHAP). FHIP awards funds competitively, 
and these funds enable the recipients to carry out activities to 
educate and inform the public and housing providers of their fair 
housing rights and responsibilities.
    A community organization in a large metropolitan area had 
received FHIP funds to develop an education curriculum to assist 
newly arrived immigrants. Data showed that non-English speaking 
persons were having difficulty in applying and securing housing in 
the area. The organization had identified a large Hispanic clientele 
in the area that needed this service. It had a well-developed 
program for this LEP population. However, the community's population 
was changing. The recipient found that there was also a large 
community of recent immigrants from Cambodia who were also in need 
of language services. To address this need, the FHIP partnered with 
Asian Action Network, a community-based social service agency, to 
translate materials and to present free seminars at the local public 
library. In addition, if needed, the Asian Action Network had on its 
staff a Cambodian-speaking counselor who was able to provide 
interpretation services.

Office of Public and Indian Housing

    HOPE VI: The HOPE VI Revitalization of Distressed Public Housing 
Program provides revitalization and demolition-only grants on a 
competitive basis for eligible PHAs that operate public housing 
units. During the HOPE VI lifecycle, PHAs are required to 
communicate with all tenants, including LEP tenants, through 
informational meetings that describe both the proposed project and 
the rights of the tenants during every stage of the application and 
implementation process. All residents need to be educated about both 
the HOPE VI project, and their right to be relocated into decent, 
safe and sanitary housing, and how they can return to the new 
project once it is completed.
    A PHA is planning to demolish a 400-unit public housing project 
and construct a 375-unit HOPE VI mixed-finance development and other 
amenities on the site. The 400-unit building is still occupied by a 
tenant population of which 55 percent are Spanish-speaking families. 
For a number of years, the PHA had in place bilingual employees in 
its occupancy office, as well as leases and other written documents 
translated into Spanish. Under the new requirements, the PHA now 
needs to translate public notices and other documents into Spanish, 
since many of the families are newly arrived immigrants from Latin 
    Public Housing: There are approximately 3,400 PHAs in the United 
States that provide a majority of the housing to low and very low-
income families. For example, a PHA in a large metropolitan area has 
Hispanic, Chinese, and Vietnamese tenants. All tenants sign a lease 
before they can live in public housing. The lease details the rules 
and requirements that the PHA and tenants must follow and ensures 
that the PHA and tenants are provided all the protections to which 
they are entitled. Additionally, the written lease ensures that all 
tenants are treated fairly. The PHA makes every effort to ensure 
that tenants understand the rules and requirements. The PHA has its 
lease and rental notices translated into Spanish, Chinese, and 
Vietnamese and it has a procedure to access interpreters for these 
languages if oral discussions of the lease are necessary.
    Housing Choice Voucher Program: The Housing Choice Voucher 
Program is the

[[Page 70980]]

federal government's major program for assisting very low-income 
families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and 
sanitary housing in the private market.
    For example, a PHA administers a Housing Choice Voucher Program 
and has recently received an additional 100 vouchers. The PHA 
affirmatively markets the availability of the housing choice 
vouchers to all families living in its jurisdiction. It places a 
public service announcement in English, Spanish, Chinese, or 
Vietnamese in the local general circulation, Spanish, Chinese, or 
Vietnamese newspapers and radio and TV stations, as applicable.

Office of Community Planning and Development

    Consolidated Plan: Consolidated Planning is a strategy for 
holistic community planning. Each community's Consolidated Plan is 
built upon public participation and input. When planning the 
required public hearings, jurisdictions must also identify how the 
needs of LEP residents will be met in the case of public hearings 
where a significant number of LEP residents can be reasonably 
expected to participate (24 CFR 91, Subpart B, ``Citizen 
Participation and Consultation''). Other activities surrounding 
public hearings should also be made available to persons with LEP, 
such as (a) publication of translated notification of the public 
hearings, and (b) translation of draft and final action and 
consolidated plans and dissemination of these documents to persons 
and appropriate organizations in the LEP community.
    The State Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is 
designed to assist small communities and rural areas in funding a 
wide variety of activities intended to promote community economic 
development. In the State CDBG program, HUD makes grants to states, 
which then distribute funds to units of general local government.
    All eligible activities in the State CDBG program must meet one 
of three statutory objectives specified in the CDBG authorizing 
legislation: principally benefit low- and moderate-income persons, 
aid in the prevention of elimination of slums or blight, or meet 
other community development needs having a particular urgency.
    State CDBG grant recipients are encouraged to reach out to LEP 
persons through local alternative language newspapers. In addition, 
expenses associated with providing interpretive services to LEP 
persons may be considered program delivery or administration costs 
and, therefore, may be paid with CDBG funds. For instance, one state 
CDBG grant recipient chooses to provide case management services to 
homeless families and individuals, and allocates part of these funds 
to provide advocacy and interpretative services for LEP persons.
    Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA): HOPWA is a 
tenant-based rental voucher program specifically designed for 
persons who are HIV positive or who have AIDS. A major city has been 
operating services affecting persons with AIDS and such services 
have been an integral part of its Consolidated Plan. However, it 
recently learned from a national study that 20 percent of its 2,000 
HIV-infected persons are LEP persons. The city previously had not 
contacted these people about their needs. In formulating its 
Consolidated Plan, the city's Community Development Department 
contacted both the Department of Health and the city's leading AIDS-
related service provider for assistance in reaching out to this 
population. The city offered to allocate additional sums from its 
HOPWA formula grant to fund bilingual interpreters and health 
outreach workers who would contact the LEP persons living with HIV 
and minister to their housing-related needs. Also, as part of its 
citizen participation plan, the city offered to conduct a 
multilingual meeting at which institutions involved in AIDS-related 
housing and services would participate.
    HOME Investment Partnership Program: In general, under the HOME 
Investment Partnerships Program, HUD allocates funds by formula 
among eligible state and local governments to strengthen public-
private partnerships and to expand the supply of decent, safe, 
sanitary, and affordable housing. Families, including LEP families, 
may obtain homeownership and rental housing opportunities from 
participating jurisdictions (PJs). Under the program requirements, 
PJs are required to implement affirmative marketing strategies, 
under which they identify groups within the eligible population that 
are least likely to apply and conduct special outreach efforts 
through advertising in local media, including media targeted at LEP 
citizens (24 CFR 92.351).
    A small HOME participating jurisdiction is using its HOME funds 
to implement a tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA) program. Under 
TBRA, the assisted tenant may move from a dwelling unit, but retains 
the right to continued assistance. The TBRA assistance also includes 
the security deposit. The HOME PJ, as part of its affirmative 
marketing strategy, has submitted advertising to the local Spanish 
language newspapers and radio station that serve the community's 
small but growing Hispanic population. Since the costs of 
implementing the affirmative marketing strategy are eligible costs 
under the program regulations, the PJ is increasing its budget to 
train occupancy staff to address issues faced by LEP applicants and 
to hire a bilingual staff member.

Office of Housing

    Single-Family Housing Counseling Program: HUD provides funds to 
housing counseling agencies that assist persons and families in 
specific geographic areas to enable them to buy homes and to keep 
homes they already have purchased. This requires one-on-one and 
group counseling on home-selection skills, understanding mortgages, 
understanding legal ramifications of various documents, establishing 
a budget, housekeeping and maintenance skills, understanding fair 
housing rights, etc.
    In a majority-Hispanic community, La Casa has been the only HUD-
funded counseling agency, providing these services for many years. 
It has bilingual staff to serve the largely Hispanic population. 
Frequently clients from a neighboring low-income community, which is 
primarily African-American, also uses its services, since the agency 
is well-known in the area. However, over the past few years, many 
low-income Iranians have been moving into the neighboring community. 
A housing counseling agency is required to provide one-on-one 
counseling services as the nature of its program. It is also 
required to outreach to those potential beneficiaries who are least 
likely to apply for its services. As a relatively small agency, La 
Casa should employ at least one person or have regular access to a 
person who can interpret between English and Farsi. This person 
should be visiting the Iranian communities, and contacting and 
working through the local agencies to affirmatively market La Casa's 
program. This person should also arrange to get key materials 
translated and provide counseling and interpretation services, as 
    Supportive Housing for the Elderly: The Section 202 Supportive 
Housing for the Elderly Program funds the construction of 
multifamily projects that serve elderly persons. Project sponsors 
are required to affirmatively market their services and housing 
opportunities to those segments of the elderly population that are 
identified as least likely to apply for the housing without special 
outreach. Even more importantly, many LEP elderly may require care 
from bilingual medical or support services staff, and recipients may 
devote considerable financial and other resources to provide such 
    The sponsor of a Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly 
project identifies in its Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan 
the city's large numbers of East and South Asian immigrants as least 
likely to apply for the new housing without special outreach. After 
examining census and other data and consulting with the city's 
Office of Immigrant Affairs, the sponsor learns that the 1,000 of 
the 5,000 South and East Asian families have at least one elderly 
relative that may be eligible for the new units. The sponsor hires 
translators fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Dari, Vietnamese, and Chinese to 
translate written materials and advertising for the local press in 
those languages. The recipient also partners with community-based 
organizations that serve the city's East and South Asian immigrants 
to arrange for interpreters at meetings.

[FR Doc. 03-31267 Filed 12-18-03; 8:45 am]