of Michael Nunez
November 21, 2002
AGUILA dedicates homeless shelter
to activist Michael Nunez
by Andrew Ragouzeos
Activist Michael Nunez at an awards ceremony in which AGUILA
dedicated a homeless shelter, 917 Eagle Avenue, in his name. -
PHOTO BY ANDREW RAGOUZEOS
South Bronx community activist Michael
Nunez was recently honored by service outreach group AGUILA Inc., who
dedicated a new shelter in his name. The 917 Eagle Avenue building,
which now houses 15 apartments for homeless women and children, was
officially dubbed "Mike’s House" at an October 29 tribute.
"This was to honor all of his hard work.
Michael is not one for self-praise, so we had to surprise him with this
honor," said AGUILA director Basilio Vega.
Hard work has been the earmark of Nunez’
career, which began after he returned to the Bronx after serving in the
Korean War. "I was working as a technician at an electronics
plant," he said.
"I was working with all these wires and
flashing lights and I realized that I get much more of a charge from
helping people. When you see that smile, and get that thank you,
there’s nothing better than that."
After returning to school and receiving a
Master’s degree in Community Economic Development, Nunez began working
for the South Bronx Neighborhood Orientation Center in 1964, improving
residential buildings and rehabilitating substance abusers.
In the years that followed, he ran several
Hunts-Point based economic and employment programs. Since 1991, Nunez
has served as director of the Puerto Rican Home Attendants Services, as
well as the president of the South Bronx Board of Trade.
"I admire his leadership. He believes in
sharing, and he has a generous personality. He is so active. I hope I am
as active as he is when I get to his age," said his assistant for
14 years, Lizette Santana.
Nunez said he is humbled by praise, and that he
feels a sense of true accomplishment when he looks back on his career of
"I’ve been at this since the early
‘60s. I’ve seen the Bronx in its heyday and through its low period
to now coming back in the last few years," he said, continuing that
his dream is to continue working because of the drastic need to help
people who are still being put out on the streets. Currently he is
making plans with AGUILA to build additional shelters in the South
He said he sees no end in sight for his career.
"If I stop, I think I’ll die. I’ll always be volunteering or
being of some type of service. I have to."
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