HUD, Nebraska Reach Language Access Agreement
HUD recently announced an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), settling HUD's findings that the state agency failed to sufficiently ensure that persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) have meaningful access to HUD-funded programs.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nebraska's Hispanic population with limited English proficiency increased 77 percent between 2000 and 2010. In addition, the state is experiencing growing populations of persons of Sudanese and Somali origin. In July 2011, HUD reviewed DED's operations for compliance with civil rights requirements and found that it had failed to comply with its LEP obligations under Title VI.
Between 2008 and 2010, Nebraska administered more than $54.5 million in HUD funding. HUD's review found that the state didn’t take any steps to provide access for LEP persons to its HUD-funded programs, nor did it translate program documents, provide translation or interpretation services, or conduct any analyses to identify the needs of eligible LEP persons. HUD's compliance review also determined that the state didn’t develop a language assistance plan to provide services to LEP persons, and revealed deficiencies in DED's monitoring of grant sub-recipients to determine if they were meeting their Title VI requirements.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Nebraska DED will conduct an analysis and develop a language assistance plan identifying the LEP populations it serves and the ways in which it will provide language assistance, including document translation, interpretation at meetings, and community outreach. The Nebraska DED will also provide Title VI training to employees and sub-recipients of federal funding.