Meet the New Princeton Human Services Director

Elisa Neira began her job this week as the new director of the Princeton Human Services Department.

Neira was one of 25 people who applied for the job, and was recommended by a committee ofmunicipal staff and Human Services Commission members. She is replacing Cynthia Mendez, who led the department for 13 years. The department provides general assistance to residents and oversees several other programs for lower income residents.

A native Spanish speaker, Neira earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Rutgers University and her master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

Most recently, she worked for the New Jersey Association of the Deaf-Blind, serving first as group home manager and residential coordinator, then as the social worker overseeing the operation of eight group homes for the developmentally disabled throughout New Jersey.

“I look forward to the challenges of this new job and the opportunity to build upon the service initiatives already underway,” Niera said. “In particular, I am excited to work with the Human Services Commission to help launch and sustain the `Send Hunger Packing’ program. I am eager to meet the residents of Princeton and the many community partners who are so instrumental to the work of the department and commission.”

Ross Wishnick, chairman of the Human Services Commission said the commission looks forward to Niera’s leadership. “Given Ms. Neira’s background and high energy personality, all of us look forward to her strengthening what we already do, help to bring us into new directions and create new avenues of support to many in our community,” he said.

Neira’a office is at Monument Hall (the former Borough Hall).   She can be reached via email or by phone (609) 688-2055.

She will be attending the Send Hunger Packing fundraiser at the Garden Theatre at 4 p.m. Sunday. The film “A Place at the Table” will be screened and a panel discussion will follow. Send Hunger Packing will provide low-income elementary school students receiving free or reduced-fee  lunches with food for the weekends during the school year. Each Friday afternoon during the school year, a backpack full of kid-friendly and nutritionally sound food will be sent home with the children  to ensure that they have enough to eat on the weekends. To purchase tickets for the June 9 event please visit   Ticket prices start at $50.  All donations are tax deductible.