In San Francisco, 44 percent of residents communicate in a language other than English at home. In 13 percent of households no one over the age of 14 is able to speak English well.
For these neighbors, getting language assistance to emergency and public safety services is often a matter of life and death. And the law requires the City to provide equal access to services for all its residents.
Yet the City allocates less than one-tenth of one percent of its budget for language assistance.
We can do better. A new approach has been recommended for funding to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that would enlist the help of community groups who have the language and cultural skills to reach residents, and that keeps costs down.
Board President David Chiu and Supervisor Eric Mar have already prioritized these recommendations, and a growing list of thirty-plus organizations that serve different racial and ethnic communities have signed on.
But the rest of the Supervisors need to hear from you.