Ralph da Costa Nunez, Ph.D. has served as President and CEO of Homes for the Homeless since 1987. Founded in 1986 as a public-private venture by Leonard N. Stern, Chairman of the Hartz Group, Homes for the Homeless provides a unique "transitional welfare" program to roughly 1000 homeless families with 2500 children in New York City each year. Dr. Nunez manages Homes for the Homeless' American Family Inns, the nation's largest network of residential education and employment training centers. In this capacity, Dr. Nunez is directly responsible for developing common sense, cost-effective programs for ameliorating the severe conditions of poverty faced by homeless families and their children.
Dr. Nunez is also President of the Institute for Children and Poverty-an independent research and policy think tank-which conducts research on issues surrounding poverty and homelessness and the ensuing impacts on children and families. From its research, the Institute develops public policy initiatives, disseminates quantitative reports, and provides technical assistance and training for other nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
Prior to Homes for the Homeless, Dr. Nunez spent his entire career working in New York City and State government. Most recently, he was the Deputy Director under Mayor Koch for the Mayor's Office of Homeless and SRO Housing Services, overseeing policies and services administered by all city agencies serving the homeless population. In addition, he also served as a First Deputy Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration, as well as holding executive positions with the Mayor's Youth Bureau, the New York State Office of Mental Health, and the Legislative Office of Budget Review.
Dr. Nunez is the Vice President of the Academy of Political Science Board of Directors, and also serves on the boards of the Hasbro Children's Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society, and has previously served on the board of the Community Service Society. In addition, Dr. Nunez was also a Mayoral Appointee to the New York City Water Board and the Mayor's Commission on the Homeless during the Dinkins and Giuliani administrations.
Dr. Nunez holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University where he has served as Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs since 1980. He is the Editor of the international Journal of Children and Poverty and has authored numerous reports and articles as well as six books: The New Poverty: Homeless Families in America; Hopes, Dreams & Promise: The Future of Homeless Children in America; The American Family Inn Handbook: A How-To Guide; A Shelter is Not a Home-Or Is It? Lessons from Family Homelessness in New York City; Beyond the Shelter Wall: Homeless Families Speak Out; and Moving Out, Moving Up: Families Beyond Shelter, as well as Our Wish, Cooper's Tale, Saily's Journey, and Voyage to Shelter Cove, illustrated children's books on homelessness.