HFS 2020-2021 Board of Directors
Jose Querubin, Chair
After almost 30 years, Jose retired in 2007 from the banking industry as President and CEO of UCPB in the Philippines. Prior to working at UCPB, he was Senior Vice President and Asia Regional Sales Director for Bank of America based in Singapore. Jose has Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics degrees from the De La Salle University (Philippines) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the Univ. of Pennsylvania (USA). He is currently the Vice Chairman & Treasurer of Gawad Kalinga Canada whose vision is to eradicate poverty and restore human dignity by building homes for the poor in the Philippines. Jose also helps in providing social services that protect children as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
Jose believes that poverty is not so much the lack of money but rather the lack of respect and dignity a human being deserves. By providing homes to the homeless, HFS gives them the dignity and respect for them to become productive members of society. Jose wants to contribute his experience and skills to help HFS further this endeavor and build capacity to help more of the homeless. Jose joined the Board in 2014 and has served on every Committee, is the former Treasurer, and was elected as the Chair of the Society in 2019.
Fran Perkins, Secretary
Fran Perkins is an international health consultant with over 25 years’ experience in public health and health promotion, including working with people who are hard to reach and house. She specializes in using the holistic approach to access people’s basic health determinants and human rights, such as housing, income, and a safe, clean environment. At the City of Toronto, Fran was a Director of Community Health Services for 12 years and Executive Director of The Healthy City Office for 5 years, working extensively with city politicians and decision makers, primarily in outreach partnerships. Fran has extensive board experience at the local, provincial, federal, and international levels, and previously served on the City of Toronto’s Alternate Housing Sub-Committee.
Fran was a member of the Board of Directors from 2009 to 2016 and served as Chair of the Society from 2011 – 2015. Following a hiatus, Fran rejoined the Board in 2019, and is currently serving as Secretary, is on the Executive Committee, and Chairs the Governance & Nominating Committee.
Marc Pourvahidi, Treasurer
Marc’s involvement with Homes First began in 2018 when he became a member of the HFS Shuter Task Force and joined the Board in January 2020. Marc is currently serving as Treasurer, as well as the Executive Committee.
Marc is a proven senior executive with demonstrated success in strategic, operational, and financial planning, change management, development management, project management in the municipal sector. Marc has over 30 years of Municipal and Crown Corporation experience and has served on boards for the Ontario Municipal Insurance Exchange, the Society of Professional Accountants of Canada, and is an active member of many other boards.
Jeremy Roach, Past Chair
Jeremy Roach is an arts and culture executive and has been involved in marketing entertainment in Canada for more than 10 years. With previously held positions within CTV, Nielsen, and DreamWorks, his experience ranges from consumer behavior to creative management. Jeremy is interested in social wellbeing and egalitarianism. He holds a Commerce degree in Marketing Management and is currently pursuing his Civic MBA. As a part of his social commitment, Jeremy is also associated with the Out of the Cold Program and the United Way of Greater Toronto. Jeremy was elected to the Homes First Society Board in June 2011, as Chair from 2015-2019, and serves on the Executive and Communications Committees, as well as on the Finance & Audit Committee.
Mike Heinrich, Community Director
Mike recently completed eight years on the board of St. Michael’s Homes, a residential addiction treatment centre with four houses in Toronto, and served as the co-chair for the last three years and worked as part of each committee during his tenure. He also currently serves on a board committee at Covenant House.
Professionally, Mike runs a health care communications company best known for creating the Dr. Mike Evans whiteboard video series generating over 20 million views on YouTube. He specializes in combining communications and behaviour change with patient and care provider engagement. Over Mike’s eight years in this role, he has learned a great deal about the continuum of care, the challenges people face navigating the health system, and the importance of the social determinants of health.
Over Mike’s 20-plus years in business, he has developed expertise in marketing, strategy, and business development with some of Canada’s largest corporations as well as start-ups in Canada, as well as in the UK and Europe. As Managing Director of Reframe Health Lab, he leads the company in combining communications and behaviour change with patient and care provider engagement.
Mike joined the Board of Directors in January 2020 and serves on the HF Communications Committee.
Nancy Miller, Community Director
After 25 years, Nancy left the communications agency she owned with her husband. The company provided research, strategic development, writing, marketing, and government relations to not-for-profit and charitable organizations. Her work often brought her in touch with how determinants of health, including homelessness, contribute to poverty and poor health. Today this is evident as we witness the lowest income group having the highest rate of COVID-19 cases.
After leaving her agency, Nancy started a career in writing for children. She has had two books for teens published and is writing a third, and for a time, she was part-owner of a media literacy organization for children, rewriting news stories in language children could understand. Nancy’s volunteer positions over the years include time with UNICEF, Dixon Hall, a music program in disadvantaged schools, and a Community Refugee Committee.
Nancy joined the Board of Directors in December 2020.
Cory O’Handley, Community Director
Cory O’Handley has been working with marginalized populations for over 28 years addressing system barriers related to mental health and addictions as it relates to housing and homelessness. His current role as the Director of Projects and Housing Development for Services and Housing In the Province (SHIP) provides him the opportunity to advance various initiatives and projects related to housing and homelessness. Prior to SHIP, Cory worked for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health within the Community Support and Research Unit focusing on housing development, partnerships, and research.
Cory is the co-founder of the Peel Alliance to End Homelessness and The Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness, and currently participates on advisory boards and several advocacy and social service working groups addressing the root causes of homelessness.
Cory holds a master’s degree in Leadership from the University of Guelph.
Cory joined the Board of Directors in December 2020.
Peter Soares, Resident Director and Resident Representative
As a resident of Homes First Society’s Shuter building, Peter was elected by the residents of Homes First as their Resident Representative and joined the Board of Directors in 2019.
As a person with lived experience, Peter joined the Board to bring awareness and understanding of the varying factors that lead to homelessness and the spectrum of mental health and addiction issues those experiencing homelessness face.
Most recently, Peter has served on the HFS Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Sub-Committee.
Amie Tsang, Community Director
Amie Tsang, MScOT, OT(Reg.) Ont., is an Occupational Therapist whose career is dedicated to working in partnership with presently and historically marginalized populations. In addition to her knowledge base in homelessness and mental health, Amie applies a critical, anti-oppression, and anti-racism lens to all her work. She has experience as a frontline clinician in the homeless sector and is a tireless educator and advocate. In 2013, Amie became an inaugural member of the Housing First Intensive Case Management Team at the Canadian Mental Health Association – Toronto Branch (CMHA Toronto), where she was involved in all aspects of program development, in addition to service delivery, on this unique and innovative team that supports individuals experiencing both homelessness and mental health challenges.
Amie also holds Adjunct Lecturer status in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. In 2017, through the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration, Amie co-developed and taught a course on Psychosocial Rehabilitation in Mental Health to emerging psychology students and psychiatry residents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Amie was also recently promoted to Health Equity Facilitator at CMHA Toronto and is now tasked with: building staff capacity on issues of equity; community development amongst service users; and conducting research and advocacy activities to address health inequities in Toronto.
Amie is also a member of the National Interest Group on Occupational Therapy and Homelessness, Healthcare Providers Against Poverty, the TTC Fair Fare coalition, and Defend Disability, and one of the co-founders of Occupational Therapists for Equity Advancement.
With several years of frontline experience in the homeless and mental health sector, experience in teaching a wide variety of audiences on complex social issues, and more recent involvement with leadership and advocacy, Amie is excited to use her skills and knowledge base to further support organizations that work towards ending homelessness, such as Homes First.
Amie joined the Homes First Society Board of Directors in January 2020 and has served on the HFS Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Sub-Committee.
Alexis Van Halen, Resident Director and Resident Representative
Alexis Van Halen is a resident of Pleasant Manor. She has lived in Homes First facilities for almost two decades, having first been a resident of Street City – an innovative Homes First Society housing project on Front Street East which has served as a model for many similar projects in Canada and the United States. Alexis has successfully conquered addictions and depression. She volunteers at a local drop-in centre, is experienced and approachable, and has strong leadership and communication skills. Alexis attends Pleasant Manor tenant meetings and wants to expand her contribution to include all Homes First Society residents. Alexis was elected by the residents of Homes First as their Resident Representative and joined the HFS Board in June 2011 and serves on the Finance & Audit Committee.
Carla Whillier, Community Director
Carla Whillier is a civil and criminal litigator, whose practice has evolved with a focus on mental health law in the context of forensic and administrative law issues. She is cross-appointed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. Carla has an undergraduate degree from Lakehead University, a law degree from The University of Buckingham, and a Master of Laws specializing in Health Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. Ms. Whillier recently spoke in Prague at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health Congress and completed a certificate in National and Global Health Law from Georgetown University. Carla has been an executive member of the Ontario Bar Association Health Law Section since 2010 and has been Chair of the section since March 2017. Carla is an active volunteer with Camp Trillium, Ontario Justice Education Network Mock Trial, and Girls E-Mentorship.
Carla joined the Board in 2017 and serves on the Governance and Nominating Committee.
Jamie Yoon, Community Director
A graduate of both the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, Jamie Yoon is Senior Counsel with Deloitte Canada. He has over 10 years of experience in private practice law as well as in-house counsel. Prior to working at Deloitte, Jamie was in-house counsel to a provincial Crown agency and spent several years in private practice on Bay Street.
In his spare time, Jamie can often be found running the trails of west Toronto and lamenting the state of the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a lifelong resident of the city, he is joining Homes First with the goal of prioritizing sustainable community development among public and private stakeholders.
Jamie jointed the Homes First Society’s Board of Directors in December 2020.