After weeks of complaints from Russian-speaking residents at its senior housing complex, Brookdale Hospital has hired a full-time translator to aid them.
"We have been informed that a person has been hired as a HUD coordinator to work on housing benefits, and will also provide language assistance services for Russian-speaking residents," said Rose Cuison-Villazor of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
Cuison-Villazor had filed complaints on behalf of the residents with several city and state agencies and threatened a lawsuit against Brookdale, claiming the language barrier amounted to unequal access to services for 35 emigres from the former Soviet Union living at the federally subsidized Schlang Pavilion in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The state’s Division of Human Rights had already ruled that no action should be taken in the case.
The move by Brookdale came several days after a Jewish Week article highlighted the difficulties faced by the seniors, who speak little to no English but say they were enticed to move to the pavilion with assurances that translation would be available. Hospital officials have not commented on the matter to The Jewish Week.