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Romero House: Creating Community Through Compassion – Toronto, ON.

July 2, 2024

In the west bend neighborhood of Toronto, Romero house continues to serve those fleeing from violence by offering a place of welcome and belonging.

Established in 1991 when a small group, including several refugee families, took over a refugee shelter facing closure, Romero House has grown into a neighborhood community with 4 transitional homes that house over 40 individuals, and in 2023-2024 offered to aid to over 1,500 people in the form of immigration and settlement support, food, clothing and other essential products.

United by shared vision of upholding the dignity of the disadvantaged, Romero House has been a recipient of the Basilian Human Development Grant for over 10 years.

“We have a long history of working with the Basilians, who have been great contributors to our efforts and programs.” Said Francesca Allodi-Ross, Executive Director of Romero House.

Currently, Basilian contribution is directed towards The Worker Program, which helps train young people interested in working with refugees. A major part of the training is addressing popular misconceptions regarding the nature of the work.

“Many people who join our program have never worked with refugees before. The eye-opening thing for many is how much joy there is in the community. It may seem like depressing work, but we have many opportunities to be thankful for and celebrate – birthdays, street parties, Christmas. ”

The annual street party engages the entire neighborhood – Romero House residents, their friends and family, as well as locals residents gather to shares stories, meals, and celebrate their unique and vibrant community.


The expansion of the volunteer program has been crucial due to the rising number of refugees coming to the city each year. Romero House prioritizes offering legal aid in obtaining refugee status, providing counselling and English lessons, as well as a community in a foreign country.

“Being together, making those that come to us feel at home for the first time in a new country, and seeing them 10 years later come back, want to be part of the team and help is what makes the work we do rewarding.”

Fr. John Reddy, CSB, the Basilian Sponsor of Romero House, said the following:

“Organizations such as Romero House are critical in helping newcomers with housing, food, access to essential services and accompaniment in approaching a civic bureaucracy which can be terrifying and depersonalizing.  Although it is not a large organization, Romero House has proved itself to be an effective and welcoming community for our brothers and sisters fleeing oppression and violence. “

Fr. Reddy emphasized the Christian aspect of the mission as well:

“In the light of Revelation, the Church resolutely reiterates and confirms the ontological dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed in Jesus Christ. From this truth, the Church draws the reasons for her commitment to the weak and those less endowed with power, always insisting on “the primacy of the human person and the defense of his or her dignity beyond every circumstance” – as stated in Dignitas Infinita #1.”

Photos generously provided by Romero House Staff.


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