City announces new resources, app to help non-English-speaking residents

Downtown Fort Wayne
Downtown Fort Wayne(Staff)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 3:32 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The City of Fort Wayne is working to give non-English-speaking residents more resources to better communicate with local government officials and offices.

Mayor Tom Henry announced on Friday that the City has updated its Limited English Proficiency (LEP) policy, ensuring those who do not speak English have an equal opportunity to participate in the City’s services, activities, programs, and other benefits.

They say interpretation services are now available over the phone, by video conferencing, and through a mobile app. Officials partnered with Languagers, Inc., which specializes in digital interpretation. City leaders say the services will be available 24/7 and will also better equip city employees with information to address language barriers.

When an employee is working with a non-English-speaking resident, they can use a language identification card so they can use the Languagers program for interpretation. If they find that in-person interpretation is needed, a designated department employee will contact a coordinator to assist.

Leaders say they eventually hope to have a service agreement with a provider for in-person interpretation as well.

The announcement was made during an event Friday morning where Mayor Henry proclaimed September 15 as Welcoming Fort Wayne Day. Welcoming Week aims to foster mutual understanding between immigrants and non-immigrants to create a more inclusive community.

After his proclamation, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne President and CEO Brad Little announced the group has granted Amani Family Services over $200,000 for the next two years to strengthen its community advocacy efforts.

“We are happy to honor these individuals and organizations who have done so much to welcome and include immigrants and refugees in the Fort Wayne area,” CEO of Amani Family Services Ewelina Connolly said. “Welcoming Fort Wayne Awards is an opportunity to celebrate the values that unite us as neighbors and makes our community more welcoming to all who call Fort Wayne home.”

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