Craig Retchless – Tim O’Hanlon Unsung Hero Award
Craig Retchless is the very epitome of an unsung hero of supportive housing. Mr. Retchless has been finding ways to make programs work better throughout his 25 years of involvement with our community. As the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration’s Customized Assistance Services, Office of Clinical & Service Systems Integration, he is the warm beating heart of what is the frequently difficult-to-understand process of helping the most vulnerable into appropriate housing. In our many years of working with Mr. Retchless, he has been an unfailing friend to the Network, our members and the people they house.
Mr. Retchless began his connection to supportive housing in 1990 in upstate New York at Transitional Living Services, then upon moving to New York City spent over 10 years in senior positions with the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health and The Bridge before beginning his career in government. In 2011, he began working with HRA as the Director of Supportive Housing Services where he was put in charge of NY/NY III and 2010e issues.
“Craig has the challenging responsibility of implementing the New York / New York eligibility criteria. He has always executed this difficult assignment with a helpful collegiality towards providers and government partners and, more importantly, a genuine concern for the applicants themselves,” noted George Nashak, of HELP USA.
Edline Jacquet of the Network describes Mr. Retchless’s incomparable contributions helping providers working with new NY/NY III populations, especially young adults aging out of foster care: “Craig’s empathy for the vulnerable youth living in supportive housing and his willingness to work with providers to better assist them in accessing housing is an example of his dedication and passion for all types of supportive housing tenants.”
Mr. Retchless has also extended himself to work with a number of other state and city agencies to enhance interagency initiatives, including the Veterans Task Force which is seeking to end veteran homelessness in NYC by the end of 2015.
“Craig exemplifies the passion and commitment that HRA employees bring to their work every day in helping the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We are honored that the Network embraces the work of the agency and Craig as valued partners especially in serving those in need of Supportive Housing,” says HRA Commissioner Steven Banks.
For his tireless efforts to make supportive housing work for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, we are proud to honor Mr. Retchless as the winner of the 2015 Tim O’Hanlon Unsung Hero of the Year Award.