Columbus, OH Somalis could lose Section 8 housing because they can’t read the legal documents

This is a post aimed directly at the Wyoming governor and any others in the nation who believe “welcoming” refugees is a freebee for local tax payers.   It is not! and you better be saving your money for the translation services required by the feds.

Columbus is right behind Minneapolis as a go-to destination for Somalis where housing is at a premium.  Remember this 2012 story—-Somalis gone wild.

From the Columbus Post Dispatch:

A Bill Clinton Executive order in 2000 (just as he was leaving office!) says states and cities better get everything translated for the immigrant masses arriving in America.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority has failed to translate key documents into Somali and Spanish despite federal requirements, jeopardizing some families’ housing, advocates say.

Leases, hearing notices and payment contracts “are complex documents full of legal jargon that can be challenging for any tenant to understand,” said Benjamin D. Horne, a managing attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. “For a new American struggling to learn a new language and a new culture, the challenge is multiplied,” he said.

The Legal Aid Society is to discuss the translation issue with the CMHA on Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development office in Columbus also is looking into the situation, said Tom Leach, the field-office director.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, Horne said.

In August 2000, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order requiring agencies that receive federal funds to create plans to ensure that people with limited English skills would have access to services.  [Access to welfare!—ed]

Seven years later, HUD released a set of guidelines for housing providers that receive federal assistance to meet the requirements to provide translation assistance.

CMHA created a plan in 2009 but still hasn’t acted on all the provisions, said Tracey Rudy, CMHA’s chief operating officer.

Immigrant activist:  It is shameful that we might lose Section 8 housing because we can’t understand English.

Hassan Omar, who leads the Somali Community Association of Ohio, said he sees people who are having problems understanding CMHA documents two or three times a month. He usually sends them to the Legal Aid Society.

CMHA should fix the problem, said Josue Vicente, executive director of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition.

“It’s shameful that people are losing their Section 8 vouchers because they don’t understand their rights and responsibilities under the program,” he said. “There are supposed to be protections in place to keep this from happening.”

Just a reminder to “welcoming” communities, here are the top ten languages  spoken by refugees that you need to start translating.   Arabic tops the list.

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