Our History

Romero House came to life in 1991 when a small group of people, including several refugee families, took over a refugee shelter threatened with closure. They had a unique idea: that newly arrived refugee families could live together with others seeking to be a community. They lived together in a spirit of trust, interacting as neighbours rather than clients and settlement workers. They had no plan, no sense of what their little experiment would become.

Over the past 30 years, Romero House has grown beyond what was ever imagined. Dive into the story of Romero House with some of our founders and long time community members.

What We Do

Romero House provides comprehensive support to refugee families
who live in our houses and who come to our walk-in program.
Some of our primary activities include:

  • Transitional Housing
    We offer transitional housing and wrap around support for one year to 10 newly arrived refugee families
  • Settlement Support
    We accompany families in accessing education, income assistance, employment, food security, and health care
  • Legal Support
    We offer support in navigating the refugee determination system and accessing quality legal representation
  • Food Security
    We work with local partners to provide weekly food hampers and care for our community garden
  • Community
    We offer regular programs for adults and children, including a whole lot of celebrations
  • Clothing
    We provide gently used seasonal clothing and various household items in the Romero House Boutique

Meet Our Team

In addition to our wonderful permanent staff team, Romero House is held up by a team of generous workers who commit one or two years of their lives to living and serving in community. This year Romero House has welcomed six workers, half of whom have stuck around from last year. The workers, together with our staff of Mary Jo, Jenn, Tembie, John, Ann, and a dedicated group of volunteers, continue to support and build the ever-growing community of Romero House

Jenn McIntyre

Jenn McIntyre

Director

A lover of cooking and eating delicious food from all over the world, listening to the CBC and exploring Toronto on her bicycle. Jenn has been involved at Romero House for many years in a variety of roles and now supports the community through both administration and community building.

Mary Jo Leddy

Mary Jo Leddy

Founder

Renowned for her creative use of leftovers in making delicious meals, and her dedication to our neighborhood. She is a social activist, teacher, and writer, whose long term commitment to Romero House has formed the foundation of this community.

Tembeka Ndlovu

Tembeka Ndlovu

Assistant Director

Our Assistant Director brings a bright sense of humour to the office and is appreciated by all in her support of the team and community.

Ann Khatter

Ann Khatter

Bookkeeper

Our wonderful bookkeeper, is a bright light in our office, bringing with her a very welcome love of organizing our cluttered spaces.

Amelia Marfisi

Amelia Marfisi

Worker

Returning to Romero after spending a summer here in 2018, Amelia is from Guelph, ON. She loves spending her free-time outside, especially anywhere near the Lakeshore. Her responsibilities this year include our Newsletter Team & assisting with Furniture Donations.

Anika Reynar

Anika Reynar

Worker

Anika is from Winnipeg and is returning for a second year. Anika can often be found biking around the city exploring the many trails and ravines of Toronto. Her responsibilities this year include Bicycles Coordinator, Dorval Garden Coordinator, & Newsletter Team.

Hayley Schultz

Hayley Schultz

Worker

 First-timer at Romero from the U.S., Hayley is excited to explore the many running trails Toronto has to offer. Her responsibilities this year include: Co-managing Clothing Donations & Newsletter Team.

Laura Friesen

Laura Friesen

Worker

First-timer at Romero from Grimsby, ON. Laura is an avid dancer and music lover. Her responsibilities this year include managing our Social Media, Volunteer Coordinator & Co-managing Clothing Donations.

Robbie Arzumanov

Robbie Arzumanov

Worker

Robbie is from Georgia and is returning for his third year at Romero. He is excited to continue to share his Georgian food recipes with the Romero community. His responsibilities this year include working with John to fix anything around Romero House that needs fixing and Furniture Coordinator.

Sayan Das

Sayan Das

Worker

Sayan is from India and is returning to Romero for a second year. He is our resident jokester and lover of all things Canada (except maybe the winter weather). His responsibilities this year include Intake & Second Harvest Coordinator.

John Nino

John Nino

Maintenance Manager

Our Buildings and Maintenance Manager, is an energetic soul with the voice of an angel. He keeps our houses in great shape and welcomes many new refugee families to Canada with the help of his fun family.

Romero House Public Documents