senate Bill S1037

2013-2014 Legislative Session

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

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to housing, construction and community development
Jan 09, 2013 referred to housing, construction and community development

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S1037 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A838
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Housing
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S2701A, A5960
2009-2010: S4459, A7916

S1037 - Bill Texts

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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.

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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.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1037

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (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;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00463-01-3

S. 1037                             2

  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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