Nicole is Assistant Commissioner and Senior Advisor for Housing & Support Services at DVS. She has over fifteen years of experience in homeless and low-income housing policy work, most recently helping to lead the effort to end veteran homelessness in NYC.
Since joining DVS in August of 2015, Branca has developed an innovative peer-to-peer model, hiring five exceptional veteran peer coordinators to assist homeless veterans in finding affordable housing that meets their needs; created the citywide housing supply plan to end veteran homelessness; stood up a command center for affordable housing referrals; and is currently spearheading efforts to establish an aftercare system to ensure that all of the veterans that DVS has housed stay housed.
Prior to joining the de Blasio Administration, Branca was Deputy Executive Director at the Supportive Housing Network of New York (the Network), a nonprofit membership organization committed to ending homelessness for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. At the Network, Branca led city, state, and federal policy and advocacy initiatives to support and expand supportive housing - permanent, affordable housing tied to onsite social services for homeless and at-risk individuals and families. While at the Network, she led efforts to restore and grow operating, social service and capital funding; mitigate development delays; improve procurement, contracting and referral processes; promote quality design; and advance new models of housing. Branca authored a number of reports, provided extensive city and state testimony, and was proud to participate in dozens of task forces, conferences and panel discussions that furthered housing opportunities specifically for homeless veterans, families, youth, survivors of domestic violence and people with a criminal justice history.
Branca also co-chaired the NYC Continuum of Care (CoC) for the past six years, overseeing $100 million in federal homeless housing funding and leading the CoC in a number of strategic initiatives to meet federal regulations and priorities and increase homeless housing funding for NYC. This included receiving over $20 million for new permanent supportive housing units, launching the City's first official homeless youth count, developing and funding a pilot rapid rehousing program, and the creation of the CoC Veterans Task Force and the Coordinated Assessment steering committee.Branca received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Babson College and her MPA from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).