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Somervivia office of immigrant affairs logo Group photo of Somerviva staff


The Office of Immigrant Affairs is here to connect immigrant and multilingual neighbors in Somerville with their local government, resources, and information. Get in contact with us for more information about: 

  • City services 
  • Food and rental assistance 
  • Small business support 
  • Legal assistance 


SomerViva provides a wide range of services for immigrants and non-native English speakers, including: 

  • Guidance to where residents can find food and rental assistance  
  • Help with filling out applications for small business support  
  • Information and referrals for legal assistance  
  • Multilingual information on city services, updates, and announcements  
  • Interpretation services for city meetings, by request

Please contact our office for more information on these and other services. 



Headshot of Maria Teresa Nagel

María Teresa Nagel
O: (617) 625-6600 x2621

Maria Teresa Nagel was born in Costa Rica and lived in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico for most of her life. She began working in the SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2021. Through her experience working with and serving the immigrant community for the past 11 years, she has found immigrants to be an inspiring group of individuals. Their stamina, resourcefulness, and unwavering hope for a better future motivate her to work in this field.

Headshot of Meredith Gamble

Meredith Gamble
Deputy Director and Language Justice Coordinator
O: (617) 625-6600 x2623

Meredith Gamble began working with the SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2020. She is a native of the New England area and speaks Spanish and Romanian. Her motto is, "Immigrant communities are an essential part of Somerville's past, present, and future." She believes it is important that local government is accessible and responsive to the issues, needs, and ambitions of the immigrant neighbors, workers, friends, and families in Somerville.


Headshot of Maria Muti

Maria Muti
Legal Services Coordinator and Immigration Policy Analyst
O: (617) 625-6600 x2619

Maria Muti began working with the city of Somerville in 2019. During her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan, Maria picked up the Arabic language. She enjoys interacting with people from the community and learning about the various cultures in the city. Her fondest memory is returning back to the office after the pandemic to work with co-workers who all share the same goal of bettering Somerville.


Headshot of Francia Reyes

Francia Reyes (Español)
Spanish Services Coordinator
O: (617) 625-6600 x2624

Francia Reyes is from Chile and is a native Spanish speaker. She began working with the SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in February of 2022. She believes that supporting the immigrant community helps to build a better society that is more inclusive, culturally diverse and economically stronger. Her fondest memory is working in early education and having the opportunity to meet many parents and children of different cultures and traditions. That experience opened her mind and helped her better understand the amazing diversity of this world.


Headshot of Magdalena Gomez

Magdalena Gomez (Español)
Community Engagement Specialist
O: (617) 625-6600 x2624

Magda is originally from Chile and has many years of experience working with the Somerville community. Magda joined Somerviva in March 2024 after four years in the nonprofit world. She is currently completing a master’s program in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy at Tufts University. She is passionate about how communities shape the cities they’re in and is committed to bridging the existing gap between the immigrant community and the local government.


Headshot of Susana Ubaldo-Russell

Susana Ubaldo-Russell (Español)
Community Engagement Specialist
O: (617) 625-6600 x2624

Susana Ubaldo- Russell was born in the Dominican Republic and was raised in the city of Cambridge. Susana is fluent in Spanish. She began working with SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2022. As an immigrant herself, she is fueled and motivated to make sure all immigrants get the equal opportunities that they deserve. Some of her fondest memories while working for the city of Somerville are all of the one-on-one interactions she’s had with residents and listening to their stories of strength and resilience.


Headshot of Rafael Peruzzo

Rafael Peruzzo (Português)
Portuguese Services Coordinator
O: (617) 625-6600 x2123

Rafael Peruzzo is from Porto Alegre, Brazil. He began working with the SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in March of 2022. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish. He also speaks some Italian, German and French. Being an immigrant himself, he knows what it feels like to be a minority and the challenges it can bring. He wants to help the community find their own voice, be proud of and celebrate their roots, develop skills and empower them in every possible way. Some of his fondest memories while working for the City of Somerville came from the interactions with community members and seeing a smile on their faces after they received assistance from SOIA.


Headshot of Mary DeMelo

Mary DeMelo (Português)
Community Engagement Specialist
O: 617-625-6600 x2627

Mary DeMelo is originally from Brazil and is fluent in Portuguese. She began working with the city of Somerville in 2022. Being an immigrant herself helps her relate with other immigrants who share similar experiences. She understands the importance of helping others adjust to living in an unfamiliar country and culture. She wants to support their journey in all the ways she can. Her fondest memory is seeing residents show up for each other, especially after the horrific fire that displaced many from their homes. Neighbors helping neighbors is what she believes Somerville is all about.


Headshot of Leptune Paul

Leptune Paul (Kreyòl Ayisyen)
Haitian Kreyol Services Coordinator
O: 617-625-6600 x2622

Leptune Paul is from Haiti and is fluent in Haitian Kreyol and French. He began working with SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in October of 2021. He is committed to assisting and supporting the immigrant community achieve their version of the American dream.


Headshot of Stave-Been Francois

Stave-Been Francois (Kreyòl Ayisyen)     
Haitian Kreyol Community Engagement Specialist 
O: 617-625-6600 x2625 

Stave-Been Francois is originally from Haiti. She speaks Haitian Kreyol and French. She began working with SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2015. She enjoys seeing the smiles on the residents’ faces when she is working directly with them. That is what motivates her everyday. Her fondest memory is meeting with families with small children. The children always put a smile on her face. 


Headshot of Parashu Phuyal

Parashu Phuyal (नेपाली)
Nepali Services Coordinator
O: (617) 625-6600 x2610

Parashu Ram Phuyal is originally from Nepal and can speak Nepali and Hindi. He began working with SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2019.  Parashu serves as a bridge between the city and the Nepalese community. His fondest memory while working for the city is helping residents and businesses recover from the lasting effects of the pandemic.  


Headshot of Yi Lam

Yi Lam (粵語、普通話/ 國語、福州話) 
Community Engagement Specialist – Chinese
O: 617-625-6600 x2626

Yi Lam is originally from Hong Kong. She is a native Cantonese speaker and is fluent in Mandarin. She is also fluent in the Fuzhou dialect. Yi has been working with SomerViva: Office of Immigrant Affairs since June 2022. She is committed to providing culturally sensitive support to empower Chinese- speaking immigrants of diverse backgrounds and identities. She is an advocate for their needs and enables them to make informed decisions for themselves, their families, and their community. Her fondest memory is connecting with a growing number of Chinese-speaking residents who are increasingly vocal about their needs and aspirations of their community.

Headshot of Karim L. Razzaz

Karim L. Razzaz
Multilingual Public Information Coordinator
O: 617-625-6600 x 2608

Karim L. Razzaz joined SomerViva in May 2024. Born and raised in Egypt, he is deeply connected to the immigrant experience and has spent the last seven years serving and advocating for immigrant and refugee communities in the Greater Boston Area. Fluent in Arabic, he acts as a powerful advocate for those marginalized by language barriers and cultural differences. Karim recently earned an MBA in Social Impact from Brandeis University, focusing on immigrant integration to help newcomers thrive. He finds the most fulfillment in empowering new arrivals in Somerville with essential services, and witnessing the transformative impact of this support on their lives fuels his dedication to amplify their voices and advocate for their rights at every opportunity.




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