Contact Us

Southside Community Resources Center

4100 Hull Street Road
Richmond, VA 23224 

Fax: (804) 646-8872


The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement - OIRE

**Formerly known as Office of Multicultural Affairs


Banner with flags of different countries


Our Mission

To improve the quality of life of immigrants and refugees by increasing their access to City and community based services/resources, promoting education and civic participation.

Our Vision

To be a model of a multicultural integrated City

Our Team

Karla Almendarez-Ramos | Manager

Adriana Rosales | Multicultural Outreach Specialist

Leticia Cormier | Administrative Liaison

Roxana Talavera-Denson | Language Access Coordinator

Javier López-Rincón | Interpreter / Translator

Brandie L. Carter | Interpreter / Translator




Since the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement  (previously the Office of Multicultural Affairs) opened in 2004, we have offered a clear point of access for community resources and a welcoming front door for immigrant newcomers moving into or residing in the city of Richmond. The following list provides a snapshot of what we do.

  • Community Resource Referrals – Our office offers a contact network system of medical and mental health clinics, legal assistance, nonprofit organizations, educational organizations, cultural groups, and other resources.
  • Information for New Americans – We support visiting mobile consulates assisting immigrants in obtaining passports and/or other critical documents.
  • Educational Resources – Our office provides information on classes available in the community, for example "English as a second language", "Spanish as a foreign language", parenting classes, civic education, citizenship classes, adult education programs, etc.
  • Educational Programs – We host free seminars and workshops on a variety of topics in partnership with other City Departments and community organizations including the Office of Minority Business Development, Housing and Community Development Department, Richmond Public Schools, Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), YMCA, Disability Law Center of Virginia.
  • Imagine Festival – We organize the annual Multicultural Festival, a celebration highlighting Richmond's diverse communities for intercultural exchange.
  • AfroFest – We co-host this annual event showcasing the vibrant and diverse cultures of the African Diaspora in the City of Richmond.
  • Media Presence – Our office participates in community radio shows that focus on educating the Latin/Hispanic population about City services and programs, important topics, upcoming events, and opportunities to get involved.
  • Cultural and Linguistic Support – We work with City departments to provide training, recommendations regarding serving the immigrant and refugee communities, and assistance in hiring multilingual staff.
  • Interpretation Services – Our office helps City departments to better serve Limited English Proficient (LEP) customers by providing oral interpretation services in Spanish/English. Language line services are available for other languages.
  • Translation Services – We provide assistance to City departments by translating written documents and forms from English to Spanish.

Richmond is a global society with new communities enriching the City culturally and economically. The foreign-born population of the city is 7.1% of the population, and 9.6% of city residents speak languages other than English at home. The diversity of Richmond’s foreign-born population covers the entire world; however, the largest representation is from Latin America. Richmond's Latino population has grown over the last two decades and now accounts for more than 6 percent of the city's population around 13,500 people (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

Many families moving to Richmond are new arrivals to the country and initially have limited English language skills. The language barrier can be challenging for both the families and for the city of Richmond in regards to services. In response to the need for culturally appropriate services, a group of Latino residents presented the city of Richmond with a proposal describing the creation of a Hispanic Liaison Office. The City of Richmond’s Hispanic Liaison Office was subsequently established in 2004.

In April of 2006, the Hispanic Liaison Office moved to the City of Richmond's Southside Community Services Center. The new location offered additional space and renovated furnishings. The Hispanic Liaison Office transitioned at that time to the Human Services portfolio under the Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services. The move was strategic on various levels, including greater visibility within City structure, and more support for the expansion of the Office’s initiatives, allowing for closer collaboration with City departments.

In October 2010, the National League of Cities issued their newest publication, “Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration: 20 Cities, 20 Good Practices,” which featured Richmond as one of the top 20 Cities with the best innovative programs and initiatives in the area of Immigrant Integration in the country because of the work of the Hispanic Liaison Office.

In July 2012, the City renamed the Hispanic Liaison Office as the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). In 2016, the OMA undertook the additional responsibility of providing Language Access coordination for the City under the directive of the City Administrative Officer (CAO). This includes the development and facilitation of an employee training program on the use of interpreters and cultural awareness topics. Additionally, the office developed employee resources under the iSpeak Richmond campaign to provide accessible services to non-English speaking customers.

In September 2021, the City renamed the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) as the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement (OIRE). While the OIRE will continue to serve Spanish-speaking customers, the office would be more inclusive in engaging Richmond’s immigrant and refugee communities through enhanced collaboration with community-based organizations, non-profits, educational institutions, and the private sector.

The OIRE works closely with all City departments to help create a more welcoming environment for immigrant newcomers. This is an exciting time for the City of Richmond, and it is abundantly clear that the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement is an integral component to the City's core operation.