Language Access Division
Page Index: Interpretation and Translation Services | Multilingual Line | Volunteer Interpreters Program | Wellness Connect Program
Boston Housing Authority (BHA) aims to provide meaningful services and programs to all individuals, including people with limited English proficiency. BHA’s Limited English Proficiency Policy (LEPP) ensures that the BHA will take reasonable steps to accommodate applicants and residents with language needs.
The Language Access Division is part of the Center for Community Engagement and Civil Rights. The Language Access Division provides:
- Interpretation and translation services
- LEP Policy training and support
- Assessment of language needs among BHA applicants, residents, and participants
- Capacity building for language resources and training of volunteer interpreters
- Coordination of language services across departments
- Monitoring for LEP policy compliance issues
Phone: (617) 988-4032
TTY: (800) 545-1833 ext. 420
Email the Language Access Division
Requests for interpretation and translation services are handled by BHA staff. To request an interpreter for a BHA appointment, please contact your BHA Department or your Housing Management’s Office.
Applicants and residents with Limited English Proficiency can request interpretation (spoken) or translation (written) services. These services may be for eligibility screenings, grievance and appeals hearings, emergency transfer interviews, recertification appointments, private conferences, resident meetings and policy hearings. Requests may also be for any BHA notices or documents. BHA also has a large number of translated documents available online, and also in-person upon request.
See Schedule for Housing Application Services in Multi-Languages.
See schedule in other languages: Chinese (中文) | Spanish (Español) | Haitian Creole (Kreyol)
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BHA is committed to providing interpreters of any language – and has provided services for 32 languages! Each year, the division interprets over 1,000 person-to-person requests and 10,000 calls via BHA designated Spanish and Chinese phone lines. With more and more callers speaking other languages, the division is building its interpretation capacity for Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean, Vietnamese, Somali and Arabic languages. Both the Spanish and Chinese phone lines have evolved to a Multilingual Line for our callers.
To reach the Multilingual Line, call (617) 988-4001.
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The Volunteer Interpreters Program (VIP) is a capacity building initiative that recruits and trains bilingual or multilingual individuals from local colleges and communities to serve as housing interpreters. VIP has increased BHA’s resources by 30 languages! As more interpretation can be done via phone and other mobile devices, the VIP will be key in broadening language access further through mobile interpretation.
The Language Access Division has expanded language access for many residents and applicants, serving Boston’s changing demographics as well as building sustainable communities in public housing.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer interpreter visit the VIP webpage to learn more. If you want to sign up to volunteer please email BHA's Language Access Team your completed application form and a copy of your resume.
The Wellness Connect Program was launched in spring of 2015 to connect BHA residents to health/nutrition benefits and services, build their knowledge of healthy living and eating, and reduce their social isolation through ample interaction with our team of volunteers. Supervised by CCECR Language Access staff, the program is run by multilingual students and community volunteers in teams comprised of 3 to 5 members, via partnerships with Northeastern University, Bunker Hill Community College and Umass Boston. Wellness Connect was first piloted at Frederick Douglas, Hampton House, and Washington Manor housing developments, and has since expanded to include Amory Street and Eva White. In total at least 48% of residents in these five (5) housing developments reported that they speak Spanish, Chinese, and languages other than English.
Scope of Language Service Assistance:
- Maintaining benefits: read public assistance notices, fill out benefits recertification forms, interpret during housing recertification appointments, etc.
- Obtaining/Expanding benefits: fill out benefits application forms (e.g.: free Safelink phone), enroll in benefits program (e.g.: Senior Whole Health, Food Dollars)
- Resident meetings: residents task force meetings, benefits information sessions
- Healthy Living: help residents understand their health insurance/prescription/medical letters, make doctor appointments, referral for health service, request work orders
If you are interested in volunteering with the Wellness Connect Progam please contact BHA's Language Access Team.
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