Bill S1037-2013

Authorizes NYCHA survey of housing developments to determine the percentage of non-English proficient residents, requires language assistance programs

Authorizes the New York City Housing Authority to conduct a survey of housing developments under its control for the purpose of determining the percentage of non-English proficient residents in such developments and requiring the institution of language assistance programs at public housing developments at which more than ten percent of the residents do not speak English.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1037

TITLE OF BILL: An act to authorize the New York city housing authority to conduct a survey of housing developments under its control for the purpose of determining the percentage of non-English proficient residents in such developments and requiring institution of language assistance programs at public housing developments at which more than ten percent of the residents do not speak English

PURPOSE OF THE BILL: To provide residents of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments access to critical services in non-English languages, if a substantial number of residents of the development require services in that language.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 directs NYCHA to conduct a language assessment of its developments every three years, no later than January 1, 2015. If the survey finds developments with populations often percent or greater requiring services in a non-English language, the development shall provide important documents and seek to employ one person proficient in the aforementioned non-English language.

Section 2 directs the NYCHA to prepare a notice, within 30 days of the institution of the language assistance program, that informs residents of the newly available services. Such notices shall be mailed to non-English proficient residents with contact information for the bilingual employee(s).

Section 3 relates to information gathering requirements of the program.

Section 4 authorizes NYCHA to implement the necessary rules, regulations and standards.

JUSTIFICATION: The City of New York is linguistically one of the most diverse cities in the world, with over l70 languages spoken by residents throughout the five boroughs. Residents of public housing in New York City, many recent immigrants seeking to make a better life for their families, deserve access to critical management services in their native languages.

My office has received numerous reports of the unacceptable handling of resident phone calls by NYCHA employees unsure of how to handle calls in a widely-spoken non-English language. As the call could have been in regards to a critical safety issue, a rent discrepancy or other important quality of life issue, proper handling of resident concerns is a must.

Though NYCHA has established a central translation phone bank to address these concerns, this system has not proven a responsive or cost-effective solution.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-2010: Senate & Assembly Referred to Housing 2011-2012: S.2701A

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Fiscal note pending.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1037 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. SERRANO, STEWART-COUSINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to authorize the New York city housing authority to conduct a survey of housing developments under its control for the purpose of determining the percentage of non-English proficient residents in such developments and requiring institution of language assistance programs at public housing developments at which more than ten percent of the residents do not speak English THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Not later than January 1, 2015, and every three years ther- eafter, the New York city housing authority shall conduct a survey of each public housing development under its control to determine the percentage of residents in each development who are not proficient in English and ascertain the languages in which such residents are profi- cient. If more than ten percent of the residents of a given development are non-English proficient, the development shall establish a language assistance program where non-English proficient residents would have effective access to communicate with development supervisors and person- nel in a language in which they are proficient. This program shall include, but not be limited to: a. employing a minimum of one person proficient in one or more languages spoken by the non-English proficient residents of the develop- ment, so as to ensure that every resident of the development has access to at least one staff member who speaks at least one language spoken by such resident; b. considering proficiency in one or more of the non-English language(s) spoken at the development as a major criterion in the hiring process;
c. ensuring that all staff members are trained on how to properly utilize New York city housing authority's Language Services Unit to properly communicate with residents; and d. providing translation of all commonly used forms and informational materials into the primary language. S 2. Within 30 days of the institution of a language assistance program at a development, the development management shall prepare a notice of the availability of the language assistance programs for non- English proficient residents and shall mail such notice to the homes of the development's non-English proficient residents. The notice shall be written in the residents' primary language and shall specify the name and contact information for the bilingual employees employed by the development. S 3. Each development shall keep a record documenting its language assistance program and shall submit a summary report annually to the New York city housing authority. Such record and report shall include, but not be limited to: a. The number of non-English proficient residents who receive such assistance; b. The number of non-English proficient households where one resident is English language proficient; c. The number of complaints filed by non-English proficient or limited English proficient residents; and d. The number of bilingual personnel used to assist in the language assistance and translation services. S 4. The New York city housing authority shall promulgate such rules, regulations and standards as may be necessary and proper to implement the provisions of this act, including the undertaking of the survey, the establishment of the language assistance programs and the monitoring of such programs to ensure on-going compliance by the developments at which the programs are instituted. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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