Matt Kreis is General Counsel at the Center for Community Progress, America’s nonprofit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.”
In addition to acting as the organization’s in-house counsel, Matt works closely with Community Progress’ national and place-based technical assistance teams to help communities evaluate and reform the laws, policies, and practices related to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated, or “problem,” properties. In this role, Matt applies his expertise in state and local law and policy related to housing and building code enforcement, delinquent property tax enforcement, and land banking and other land reuse systems, to help state, local, and community leaders across the country identify how to mitigate the harm imposed by problem properties on neighbors, and to identify mechanisms and opportunities for reuse aligned with community priorities and needs for housing and land. In his work with our technical assistance team, he has helped communities reform their approach to code enforcement to achieve more effective and equitable results, drafted state and local laws to enhance efforts to enforce delinquent taxes and municipal code enforcement liens for vacant properties, and helped to draft state and local laws and policies to create and enhance the performance of land banks across the country.
Prior to joining Community Progress, Matt spent nearly a decade as an attorney at the City of Chicago’s Department of Law. At the City, he focused on identifying, developing and implementing effective code enforcement tools to combat blight and problem properties. Kreis worked closely with multiple City departments to create a mobile, electronic code enforcement tool, which enabled inspectors to more quickly and efficiently identify blight and related health and safety violations. Matt also worked with City and elected officials to craft and propose legislation designed to improve property conditions and efficiency throughout the City, trained code inspectors on the proper use of local law in enforcement efforts, and provided general advice and guidance to various city department commissioners and their deputies on a range of related matters.
Ultimately, however, it was Matt’s direct interactions with the neighbors and residents most impacted by vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated properties in Chicago that led him to Community Progress, and to focus his practice on helping communities impacted by decades of disinvestment develop more equitable, effective, and efficient systems, laws, and policies to revitalize neighborhoods.
Matt earned his JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and his BA from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He is based in Chicago.