Wellesley Institute Report: “Can you send someone who speaks my language?”
This report focuses on older adult tenants with limited English proficiency who live in Toronto’s social housing. Many expressed challenges understanding tenant-related documents and announcements as they were often communicated in English. This made it difficult for tenants to engage with housing staff and participate in their community. For older tenants with limited English proficiency to live with dignity and comfort in their homes, this report offers five recommendations for housing providers:
- Record the languages of all older tenants and track preferred language of communication—as well as English proficiency levels.
- Improve language-access. This can include offering interpretation and/or translation services at community events.
- Ensure that staff are trained on how to access and use available translation/interpretation services.
- Proactively share information with tenants in languages they understand. This includes information related to housing (e.g., leasing documents, tenant handbook, annual rent reviews, building notices) as well as information on community agencies that offer services in diverse languages.
- Foster tenant empowerment and ensure that tenants with limited English proficiency have opportunities to participate in and shape their community.
Dec 05, 2022