Director of Michigan Initiatives
Payton A. Heins serves as Director of Michigan Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), America’s nonprofit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.”
Heins directs the organization’s technical assistance, leadership and education, research, and policy work throughout Michigan. Through this place-based program, she helps communities across the state better understand their vacancy challenges and develop new approaches to address and prevent vacant and deteriorated properties, with a special focus on code compliance, land banks, and data and market analysis tools.
This work follows on her experience as a Program Officer of National Technical Assistance leading projects across the U.S. focused on code enforcement, neighborhood housing markets, and land banks and land banking.
Heins is lead researcher and co-author of Community Progress’ national publications, Take it to the Bank: How Land Banks Are Strengthening America’s Neighborhoods (2014) and Revitalization in Michigan: A Guide to Transforming Vacant, Abandoned, and Deteriorated Properties through Code Enforcement (2020).
Before joining Community Progress, Heins managed affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs for a Michigan-based nonprofit, also establishing the organization’s first mortgage foreclosure prevention program. She has also worked with various Detroit-based organizations in the areas of housing and neighborhood development.
Heins earned a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Michigan, specializing in Housing, Community and Economic Development. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University, where she majored in Social Relations and Policy, and spent two years studying Political Science at Universitaet Freiburg in Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany.
Heins is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council and a licensed residential Realtor in the state of Michigan.