HUD Publishes Guidance on Funds Related to Persons with Limited English Proficiency
By: Tushar Gurjal, Senior Policy Manager
On January 31, HUD published a notice titled “Guidance on Eligibility uses for PIH Program Funds Related to Persons with Limited English Proficiency” (Notice PIH 2024-04). The notice provides information on complying with limited English proficiency (LEP) requirements and provides information on the eligible uses of program funding for activities to benefit people with LEP.
To comply with LEP requirements, every PHA, and certain other grantees, should conduct a three-step process. First, the PHA should conduct a four-factor analysis. Second, the PHA should develop a Language Access Plan. Finally, the PHA should provide appropriate language assistance.
The four-factor analysis ensures a review of the totality of circumstances in providing meaningful language access without imposing undue burdens. The four factors are the following:
- Reviewing the number or proportion of people served or eligible to be served with LEP;
- Reviewing the frequency at which people with LEP interact with the program;
- Reviewing the nature and importance of the program, activity, or service; and
- Reviewing the resources and costs that a certain service option would present a material burden.
Language Access Plan
After conducting the four-factor analysis, the PHA should develop a Language Access Plan. This plan may include the following:
- Identifying people with LEP who need assistance;
- Identifying staff who may have contact with people with LEP;
- The language assistance provided;
- Conducting effective outreach to the LEP community;
- Training staff;
- Determining important documents;
- Translating informational materials;
- Providing interpreters for meetings;
- Connecting with and developing community resources to help with language services; and
- Creating a timeframe for updating the Language Access Plan (LAP) with input from the community.
Additionally, PHAs and certain other grantees should also ensure the Language Access Plan:
- Identify informational material that needs to be translated;
- Incorporate procedures for providing appropriately translated notices to persons with LEP and interpreters for meetings;
- Contains procedures for frontline staff to identify when a person has language access needs and how to assist them;
- Develops community resources, partnerships, and other relationships to help with the provision of language services; and
- Makes provision for monitoring and updating the Language Access Plan while seeking input from the community and other stakeholders.
Language Assistance Services
The PHA should implement the Language Access Plan after it has been developed and provide the appropriate services to the appropriate populations. The PHA may also employ the services of another organization in implementing its plan.
Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Program Funds Use
The notice provides details about which funds may be used to provide assistance for LEP individuals.
Operating Fund – PHAs may use their Operating Fund to ensure meaningful access for people with LEP within the Public Housing Program.
Capital Fund – Small, non-troubled PHAs – these PHAs may use this funding for any eligible cost under the operating fund, including providing meaningful access for people with LEP in the Public Housing Program.
Other PHAs – PHAs may use up to 10% of their capital fund grant for management activities. The PHA must identify LEP requirements as a management deficiency and include it as a work item in the Capital Fund 5-Year Action plan to use these funds for this purpose.
Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Administrative fees – PHAs may use administrative fees and administrative fee reserves for HCV and project-based voucher activities and materials.
Mainstream Voucher Administrative fees – PHAs may use the mainstream administrative fees and administrative fee reserves for addressing LEP requirements within the program.
Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) Administrative and Service Fees – PHAs may use EHV administrative and services fees for complying with LEP requirements.
The full notice may be found here.