A Co-op City resident who is a longtime employee of the Human Resources Department has won the city’s most prestigious independent award for public employees.
Nancy Woolard-Smiley was selected from a pool of 250,000 public employees as a 2008 recipient of the Sloan Public Service Award recently. The award is the leading independent honor for city workers, honoring just seven individuals this year.
Woolard-Smiley has worked in virtually every division of the Human Resources Administration dedicated to preventing homelessness. She is currently in her 30th year of public service to the city, and is a deputy director of H.R.A.’s Homeless Diversion Programs.
“I am passionate about diverting people from homelessness because of the emotional toll it takes on everyone,” Woolard-Smiley said. “Life is about memories. I don’t want the kids to have to remember Christmas in a shelter, or the parents to remember another birthday without a reason to celebrate. I work in the cause of a wonderful mission.”
The award selection panel selects its winners every March. Each recipient receives a cash prize of $7,500. The Fund for the City of New York has given Sloan Public Service Awards for the past 35 years. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has also supported the award for the last 24 years.
The director of the Human Resources Administration praised Woolard-Smiley’s work.
“One of Mayor Bloomberg’s highest priorities is preventing homelessness and Woolard-Smiley is one of our city’s unsung heroes in this effort,” said H.R.A. commissioner Robert Doar. “Nancy and her team have helped thousands of New Yorkers avoid homelessness. She is a model for city employees and we are proud that her work is being recognized.”
Woolard-Smiley said that she is just a person who comes to work every day and tries to do a good job, like countless other city employees.
“I come to work every day to do a good job,” Woolard-Smiley said. I was extremely honored to be considered for this prestigious award,” Woolard-Smiley said. “I was extremely honored and humbled to be considered for this prestigious award. I was flabbergasted when I heard that my name had come up. While it was an honor to be nominated, I was thrilled to be selected. I will remember this moment all of my life.”