The Filipino Language Access Research and Education (FLARE) project is an ongoing needs assessment conducted in partnership with South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and funded by the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA). Through qualitative data collected from Filipino-serving community-based organizations, the research and report reveals the needs and gaps in language access for Filipino LEP residents. It lays bare the urgent needs of the Filipino community in SF as language access for services will signal gaps in the vital services Filipinos can access.
On April 2, 2014, OCEIA officially certified Filipino as San Francisco’s third language spoken by a “Substantial Number of Limited English Speaking Persons.” All City Departments providing information or services to the public are expected to fully implement required Filipino language access services by December 31, 2015. Meeting the threshold of 10,000 LEP Filipino speakers was the first step toward San Francisco’s implementation of Filipino as a required language covered the Board of Supervisors as the Language Access Ordinance (LAO) that ensures that departments provide access to accurate, timely, and vital information to residents for whom English is not a first language. Because little information was previously available on the Filipino-speaking LEP population (Chua 2006), it is important to gain more knowledge about this group in order to help the San Francisco city departments and agencies understand and meet their language access needs.