September 15, 2023 - Non-English-speaking residents in the City of Fort Wayne will have more opportunities to communicate with city government through an updated Limited English Proficiency (LEP) policy developed by Mayor Tom Henry’s Administration.
Interpretation services are available over the phone, by video conferencing (with or without a scheduled appointment), and through an interpretation mobile app. The City of Fort Wayne’s Risk Management Department recently finalized an agreement with Languagers, Inc. The company specializes in phone, mobile, and instant video interpretation. These services will assist those in need of help (24/7/365), as well as equip city employees and city divisions/departments with information that helps address language barriers.
When City departments encounter non-English-speaking residents, employees will use a language identification or an “I speak” card to identify the language. Once the language is identified, designated department employees will use the Languagers program to provide interpretation services to effectively communicate with the resident. If it is determined that in-person interpretation is required, the designated department employee will contact the Title-VI Coordinator in Risk Management to assist.
In the near future, the City hopes to have a service agreement with a provider that would provide in-person interpretation as well as the translation of written documents.
LEP policy statement:
It is the City’s policy to take reasonable steps to ensure that individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) have meaningful access and an equal opportunity to participate in the City’s services, activities, programs, and other benefits. This policy is to ensure meaningful communication between LEP residents and their authorized representatives. Interpretation and translation services needed to comply with this policy shall be provided without cost to the person being served. The City will conduct a regular review of the language access needs of our citizens, as well as update and monitor the implementation of this policy and these procedures, as necessary.
“The policy that’s been enacted complements our ongoing commitment to engagement, innovation, and performance. Every person who calls Fort Wayne home deserves to be treated with respect and have opportunities to be part of the ongoing work to make our community as welcoming and helpful as possible,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m looking forward to positive outcomes from this proactive measure that’s designed to make a lasting and meaningful difference for individuals and families.”