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 McIntyre, Jenn Stephenson, John, Ann, and a dedicated group of volunteers, continue to support and build the ever-growing community of Romero House

Francesca Allodi-Ross

Francesca Allodi-Ross

Executive Director

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

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.

Jenn Stephenson

Jenn Stephenson

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

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

Community Services Coordinator

Robbie is from Georgia and is taking on a new role at Romero House. 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

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!

Sarah Buisman

Sarah Buisman

Worker

  Sarah is returning for her second year. She is from Guelph, ON, and she loves music and ensures we all get a healthy dose of yummy kale salads! Sarah is our very organized volunteer coordinator and a great Companion.

Elaina Mohr

Elaina Mohr

Worker

We are welcoming Elaina back for her second year. She is from Grimsby, ON, and is an improv wiz and boxer extraordinaire! Elaina has enthusiastically stepped into the role of Housing Worker.

Paula Origua

Paula Origua

Worker

Paula joins us for her first year at Romero, bringing much pizazz and dedication to our team. Paula is our communications coordinator. She loves photography and is an avid dog enthusiast!

Rafael Llamas

Rafael Llamas

Worker

Rafael joins us for his first year of being a Worker. Rafael is our food security coordinator, he is also in charge of our bikes. Rafael brings awesome tech skills, a superb enthusiasm for teamwork, and delicious empanadas to our team!

Moses Simbeye

Moses Simbeye

Worker

Moses is joining our team and comes all the way from Zambia. He is our intake coordinator and is very committed to his work. He plays the guitar and is a great swimmer. He speaks seven languages, and has amazing linguistic skills!

Suyeon Kang

Suyeon Kang

Worker

Suyeon comes from South Korea, she is a very dynamic person who has experienced many volunteer and community placements throughout the world. She is community programming coordinator. She plays ukulele and sings very well, she is very enthusiastic.

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