Who We Are

Our Vision

Refugee claimants in our neighbourhoods are safe, thriving, and know that they belong.

Our Mission

The Romero House community welcomes refugee claimants with housing, immigration and settlement support.

Our Values

We live together as good neighbours, valuing care and mutuality. 
We respect the dignity of all. 
We trust one another.
We are present in joy and suffering.
We are inspired by the radical example of Oscar Romero.

Our History

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.

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.

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 staff, Romero House is held up by six young people in the Worker program, who commit one or two years of their lives to living and serving in community. This team, together with a dedicated group of volunteers, continue to support and build the ever-growing community of Romero House

Francesca Allodi-Ross

Francesca Allodi-Ross

( She / Her )
Executive Director

Francesca has been part of the Romero community for more than 15 years. She started as Executive Director in 2022, bringing experience as a facilitator, frontline social service worker, and former lawyer. She loves dancing and singing and is grateful that this community celebrates both.

Mary Jo Leddy

Mary Jo Leddy

( She / Her )
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.

Jenn Stephenson

Jenn Stephenson

( She / Her )
Assistant Director

Our Assistant Director brings an extremely helpful enthusiasm for operational management and organization. She is our health and safety guru and knows far more about social media than anyone else on the team.

Ann Khatter

Ann Khatter

( She / Her )
Bookkeeper

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

Robbie Arzumanov

Robbie Arzumanov

( He / Him )
Settlement and
Logistics Coordinator

Robbie is from Georgia and provides support to former residents as well as our operations and admin team. He is an amazing guitar player and a great gym buddy! He is excited to continue to share his Georgian food recipes with the Romero community.

Robelin Severino

Robelin Severino

( He / Him )
Maintenance Manager

Our Buildings and Maintenance Manager Robelin brings amazing enthusiasm to Romero House while keeping our houses in great shape. He loves to make music, is a talented bachata dancer and a great cook!

Karen Sierrra

Karen Sierra

( She / Her )
Housing Hub Manager

Hailing from the vibrant country of Colombia, 
Karen brings a unique blend of engineering and project skills and a heart full of passion to our team. She is our excel wizard!
Since landing in Canada, she’s been a dedicated volunteer. When she’s not busy helping people, she transforms into an adventure enthusiast. Whether she’s traveling to new places, dancing, or seeking new experiences, she’s always on the move. And let’s not forget her love for music and food—gathering with family and friends is her ultimate joy!

Suyeon Kang

Suyeon Kang

( She / Her )
Worker

Suyeon comes from South Korea, and her deep passion for the community has taken her to experience diverse volunteer and community placements around the globe. She is excited to step into the role of Communications and be back with our Companion team. In our community, you can often find her strumming her ukulele or on a quest to discover the best bubble tea spot.

Sarah Buisman

Sarah Buisman

( She / Her )
House Coordinator

She is from Guelph, ON, and she loves music and ensures we all get a healthy dose of yummy kale salads! Sarah served as a Worker from 2021 to 2023, and we are delighted to have her return as our House Coordinator.

Rafael Llamas

Rafael Llamas

( He / Him )
Worker

We are welcoming Rafael back for his second year as our Intake Coordinator, ready to warmly greet and support walk-ins at the office. Rafael brings awesome tech skills, a superb enthusiasm for teamwork, and delicious empanadas to our team!

Marisol Larrea-Clark

Marisol Larrea-Clark

( They / Them )
Worker

Marisol joins us from Parkhill, Ontario, bringing amazing spunk and energy to our team. Marisol is our community glue, organizing many fun outings and social events for our residents. They are a Community Programming Coordinator and on our Companion Team.

Marnie Klassen

Marnie Klassen

( She / Her )

Marnie comes to us from Winnipeg, but grew up in B.C. She is our Volunteer Coordinator, helping folks like you find their fit in the Romero community. She’s also on our companion team. When she’s not coordinating volunteers or working with families, she enjoys a slow coffee in the morning, watching Oscar nominees, feeding her friends good food, gardening, and exploring Toronto.

Oren Jungreis

Oren Jungreis

( He / Him )
Housing Access Coordinator

Oren comes from a background of community organizing and social work, and has a passion for community-based education. He cares deeply about ensuring that all people have access to sustainable housing. You can find him cooking new recipes, playing games with his friends, and exploring Toronto.

Meet Our Board of Directors

If you are interested in serving as a board member, click here to express interest.

Lori Neale

President

Anil Varughese

Vice President

Sara Guerrero

Treasurer

Kathy Butkovich

Secretary

Michael McMorrow

Member

Tom Abel

Member

Amensisa Neway

Member

Shahid Akhtar

Member

Our Policies