On January 31, HUD released Notice PIH 2024-04, Eligible Uses for PIH Program Funds Related to Persons with Limited English Proficiency, that consolidates guidance on the program funds that can be used for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) to access programs and activities.
The Notice clarifies the existing use of PIH program funds for HUD’s LEP activities. PHAs meet their compliance obligation to determine LEP needs through a four-factor analysis evaluating:
- Number or percent of LEP people served or eligible.
- Frequency that the LEP population interacts with programs.
- The importance of the program or service.
- The resource and cost of a service, and if it is a material burden.
The four-factor analysis informs the creation of a Language Access Plan. HUD has a Language Access Plan that is available to be used. The plan is implemented by providing appropriate language assistance services as needed.
The Language Access Plan should have procedures for frontline staff to identify and assist an LEP person, to identify important materials that must be translated like notices, forms, or policies, and to also have a procedure for translation and interpretation.
PHAs can use public housing operating and capital funds, HCV administrative fees, or voucher service fees (through, for example, the Emergency Housing Voucher program) to ensure meaningful access to programs and activities for people with limited English proficiency.
PHADA staff will continue to watch the impact of a currently undefined appropriations landscape and the available resources that HAs possess for LEP compliance and other requirements. HUD is funding HAs at only 87 percent of formula eligibility, and many HAs are having difficulty collecting rent, creating more operational challenges.
HUD’s website provides additional FAQs related to LEP compliance.