Mayor de Blasio Appoints Grace Bonilla as Administrator of Human Resources Administration

February 16, 2017

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Grace Bonilla as Administrator of the Human Resources Administration (HRA), which is now part of the Department of Social Services. Utilizing her years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors – including senior-level experience at HRA, Grace Bonilla will be responsible for leading HRA to fight poverty and income inequality. She will report to Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.

“The people who work at the Human Resources Administration are tasked with achieving one of the most important goals of this City – combatting income inequality and poverty,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Grace Bonilla’s years of experience at HRA and fighting for New York’s most vulnerable make her a fine addition to the team to expand upon HRA’s critical work. I welcome Grace back to HRA and look forward to working with her.”

“I’m thrilled to welcome Grace Bonilla back to the Human Resources Administration,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “As a longtime advocate for and champion of vulnerable New Yorkers, Grace brings critical expertise and an incredible sense of purpose to HRA. I look forward to working with her in this new role as we work to connect more New Yorkers to the critical services HRA provides.”

“We are very excited to have Grace Bonilla back in our agency in her new role as Administrator for the Human Resources Administration,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “She brings with her a wealth of experience in public and community service that will be a great asset to the agency as we continue to implement our reforms to help the neediest New Yorkers. I look forward to working with her again and to her leadership of the HRA team.”

“It is with a newfound purpose that I return to HRA and look forward to serving this Administration at such a critical time for our city and country. I am honored to work with Commissioner Banks and the stellar team at HRA as we continue to strengthen the safety net and assist millions of New Yorkers. I bring with me all the lessons that I have learned from the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families staff, our parents and students, and will work to effectively represent their hopes and dreams for themselves and our city. I am humbled by Mayor de Blasio’s vote of confidence and look forward to serving the city in this capacity,” said Grace Bonilla.

As part of the 90-day review of homeless services, the Mayor determined that to better coordinate services to New Yorkers and prevent homelessness HRA and the Department of Homeless Services should both report to a single Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, with an Administrator appointed to directly manage each agency. Grace Bonilla has been selected to fill the Administrator position at HRA.

About Grace Bonilla
Grace Bonilla was most recently the President and CEO of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF), a non-profit which combines education and advocacy to expand opportunities for children and families. In her role as President of CHCF, Bonilla served on the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Group. She also served as co-Chair of ACS’ Racial Equity and Cultural Competency as well as the Community School Advisory Board, among others. From 2012 to 2014, Bonilla served as Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Community Affairs and Immigrant Services, working to remove potential barriers to services for 1 million limited English proficient (LEP) and immigrant clients. Prior to this, she spent 10 years in senior roles at HRA. From 2011 to 2012, Bonilla was Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Constituent Services at HRA. She oversaw the daily operational needs of the Office of Constituent Communications and Infoline, the agency’s call center. She also collaborated with senior staff to ensure that HRA effectively implement legal mandates associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act and improved collaboration between the Office of Constituent Services and other program areas.

From 2009 to 2011, Bonilla served as Director of Legislation and Policy in the Office of Child Support Enforcement at HRA. In this role, she supervised the legislative and policy unit in efforts to adopt best practices from around the country. She also collaborated with the New York State Family Court to bring innovative approaches to reducing arrears for low income non-custodial parents. In addition, Bonilla was a project manager for a pilot program that examined the benefits of beginning child support orders through agreements outside of court for families on cash assistance. Bonilla also assisted as a liaison with New York Family Court to eliminate millions of dollars in arrears for low income non-custodial parents. Prior to this, she served as a Senior Legislative Analyst and Agency Attorney at HRA. Bonilla is the proud daughter of immigrant parents. Born and raised in Queens, Bonilla continues to live there with her husband Michael and three sons. She is a graduate of St. Johns University and Brooklyn Law School.

About HRA
Now part of the Department of Social Services, the Human Resources Administration (HRA) provides economic support and social services to families and individuals through the administration of major benefit programs including cash assistance (CA), the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid and Child Support Services. HRA also provides homelessness prevention and rental assistance, educational, vocational and employment services, assistance for persons with disabilities, services for immigrants, civil legal aid and disaster relief. For the most vulnerable New Yorkers, it provides HIV/AIDS Services, Adult Protective Services, Home Care and programs for survivors of domestic violence.

“Throughout her distinguished career, Ms. Grace Bonilla has devoted her efforts to educating and strongly advocating for our City's most vulnerable children and families. Her ample knowledge of the agency she will now lead and her commitment to public service are truly valuable assets that will allow her to efficiently address some of the most pressing challenges facing our City. I look forward to continue working with her to improve our City's social services systems,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera.

“I am proud of the Mayor's appointment of Grace Bonilla as the new Administrator of the Human Resources Administration. Grace exemplifies all the qualities that a public servant needs to succeed and deliver. She has a track record of serving the most needed New Yorkers through the execution of services and advocacy. I am sure she is going to be a great asset to HRA and the administration," said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa.

Steven Choi, Esq., Executive Director of The New York Immigration Coalition said, "We applaud the Mayor for bringing on Grace Bonilla to serve as the new Administrator of the Human Resources Administration. Grace has the requisite experience, skills and a deep understanding of New York's immigrant communities to run HRA, which is a key institution for so many of New York's immigrants all across the City. We look forward to working with Grace to ensure that HRA successfully supports all New Yorkers in the years to come."

“Grace Bonilla is a longtime champion for children and families in New York City,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. “From her years working to ensure that immigrant families have access to the services and support they need, to her recent leadership of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Grace is a partner in CCC’s efforts to make New York City a better place for children. We look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role.”

“On behalf of URI, we are excited for Grace’s new role,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of the Urban Resource Institute. “She is a champion of social service issues and will continue to bring her passion and voice to further the sector.”

“Housing Works supports the continued work of Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Banks to help the lowest income New Yorkers,” said Charles King, President and CEO of Housing Works.

“BronxWorks believes Grace Bonilla is an excellent choice for HRA Administrator, and we look forward to collaborating with her as we both work towards improving life for Bronx residents. With her decade of experience at HRA and her recent work at the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, we believe that Grace is excellently suited to lead HRA to meet the needs of New Yorkers,” said Eileen Torres, Executive Director of BronxWorks.

"We are truly excited about the appointment of Grace Bonilla as Administrator of the Human Resources Administration. For many years, Grace has served and advocated for the rights of low-income communities. As we are living in uncertain times, it is crucial that we have people like Grace leading critical institutions like the Human Resources Administration. We are encouraged that Grace Bonilla will continue to build on the visionary leadership of Steven Banks and use HRA as a tool to support and uplift low-income New Yorkers who depend on its vital assistance," said Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq., Executive Director of Communities Voices Heard.

Theo Oshiro, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York, said, "Grace Bonilla has been a leader in social services for New York's poor and has always had the interests of immigrant communities at heart. She was a pioneer in implementing language access at HRA and in making sure immigrants have access to our city's safety net. We congratulate her on this appointment; New York City is lucky to have her in this new position."

Raul Russi, CEO of Acacia, said, “Acacia Network extends congratulations and a warm hand to Grace Bonilla. We applaud Mayor de Blasio for the well timed and important appointment of a Latina woman with exemplary leadership, impeccable skills and deep commitment. Her experience addressing both policy and front line interventions will leverage the best the City can offer to improve the lives of our most vulnerable. Acacia Network is proud to be a partner with the City to address root causes of income inequality and homelessness, and we are re-invigorated with the addition of Ms. Bonilla.”

“We are grateful that the City is moving ahead so forcefully to strengthen the management of social services,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America. “Putting high quality people in charge – and giving them clear authority to get the job done – is exactly what’s needed to reduce hunger, poverty and homelessness in the city.”

"We applaud Mayor de Blasio's decision to appoint Grace Bonilla to the position of HRA Administrator," said Angela Fernandez, Esq. Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “Grace understands the struggles of every day immigrant New Yorkers and as a result we are confident that she can devise and implement systemic solutions through her leadership of this critical New York City agency.”

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