Immigrant Services

Somerville has always been a community of immigrants; it is woven into the fabric of who we are. A quarter of our residents were born outside the United States. We should all be proud that Somerville was one of the first cities in the United States to adopt a welcoming city policy. Immigrants have always been a large part of Somerville, with our evolving immigrant communities building the success of our city and contributing to its vitality. Making sure these communities have access to our full range of city services must be a priority. The Welcome Project and the Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health (ISPG/H) serve our city impeccably, but they and other organizations like them need more help from the city. Immigrants provide so much to Somerville, it is important to fully integrate immigrant voices and experiences into the social, civic, and economic life of our city.

Immigrants deal with all the same issues as any fellow-resident, with the potential added pressures of immigration status and language barriers. To maintain, sustain, and grow our community we need to uplift the Somerville Office of Immigrant Affairs. Somerviva provides access to city services in Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Nepali, but we will do more to improve our city’s interface with immigrant communities and to provide linguistically and culturally competent help with navigating life in Somerville. 

  • Immigrant Voices: Listen to immigrant voices to foreground needs in immigrant communities through community outreach.

  • Pandemic Response: Make sure that health resources and relief funds are available to all of our residents. This includes informational sessions and arranging vaccination sites on the ground in the community.

  • Workforce: Work toward security and benefits for some of our most essential, yet underrecognized workers. Foster cooperation with our nonprofit sector to support further workforce development.

  • City Services: Ensure that all residents can access our city services. Improve interpretation and translation services so that ESL or non-English speaking Somervillens can more easily get responses and help from our government departments.

  • Rights, Benefits, and Services: Liaise with state agencies and with local human service agencies to make sure that our residents have resources to know about their rights and to access the essential benefits and services available to residents of the Commonwealth.

  • Somerviva: Support and grow Somerviva, making it a more well-defined and permanent part of our city government’s services. 

  • Immigrant-Owed Businesses: Work with immigrant owned businesses to ensure they can access government services and get the assistance they need to thrive.

  • Develop systems to ensure that all immigrants feel welcomed in our community