Key Staff

Michael Goldberg, Executive Director of Heartland Housing, Inc. and Vice President of Heartland Alliance

Michael Goldberg brings 23 years of professional housing development and community planning experience to Heartland Housing, Inc. Mr. Goldberg joined Heartland Housing in 2003 and for seven years was responsible for managing the development of Heartland Housing’s affordable and supportive housing portfolio. In this time Mr. Goldberg and his development team have worked to close on financing and construct over 825 affordable housing units, which include HOPE VI development, supportive housing and senior housing. New initiatives begun under Mr. Goldberg’s leadership include the expansion of Heartland’s work into the collar counties of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, as well as the States of Wisconsin and Indiana. In addition, Heartland’s focus on sustainable development and green architecture have occurred under the leadership of Mr. Goldberg. In October of 2010, Mr. Goldberg was promoted to Executive Director of Heartland Housing, responsible for directing all aspects of the organization.

Mr. Goldberg’s past experiences include his work as a senior planner with the consulting firm of SmithGroup JJR in Chicago. In this position Mr. Goldberg helped manage a community planning studio that provided services throughout the Midwest. Mr. Goldberg was also a community planner with the consulting firm of Planning Resources, Inc. Additionally, Mr. Goldberg coordinated housing and planning activities as a staff member for the cities of New York and Chicago.

Mr. Goldberg received his Master of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Rehab Network. He recently served on the Permanent Housing Work Group helping to prepare Milwaukee’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Mr. Goldberg was also on the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority’s Tax Credit Advisory Committee.


Mark Kruse, the Senior Director of Real Estate Development

Mr. Kruse is the Sr. Director of Real Estate Development for Heartland Housing, a non-profit developer and manager of affordable housing. Based in Chicago, Heartland Housing has developed over 2,400 units of affordable housing and currently manages a portfolio of nearly 1,200 units. Mr. Kruse is charged with creating permanent supportive housing to serve the homeless and other vulnerable populations, preserving and creating senior housing, and securing naturally occurring affordable housing. The work of the Real Estate Development Team is currently focused on the triangular area bounded by Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison.

Mr. Kruse’s past experiences include his work as a Vice President of Development for Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, a non-profit developer serving Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods. At Hispanic Housing, he developed approximately 1,400 units of senior and family housing in new construction, adaptive re-use and acquisition. That work included sales of single family homes and condominiums and 64,000 Square feet of commercial space. Prior to Hispanic Housing, Mr. Kruse worked for the City of Chicago underwriting commercial real estate and expanding manufacturers.

Mr. Kruse currently sits on two boards in Evanston: the Actors Gymnasium and the City’s Housing and Homelessness Commission. Previously he served as Board President for the Architreasures. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Regional Development, from the University of Arizona.


Kandyse McCoy Cunningham, Director of Property Management

Mrs. Cunningham brings 15 years of experience in Asset and Property Management to Heartland Housing. As the Director of Asset Management, Mrs. Cunningham oversees the compliance, physical and financial performance of more than 700 units of affordable and supportive housing for low-income Chicagoans. Mrs. Cunningham has worked with numerous housing programs including tax credits, Section 8, bond financing, mixed income, Section 202 and Section 236 programs. Mrs. Cunningham is also a member of the Heartland Alliance Risk Management team, assisting in the development and implementation of the organization’s response to financial, environmental, and political risk.

Prior to joining Heartland, she was a Senior Asset Manager with the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Her formal education consists of a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management from National Louis University, and a Masters of Business Administration degree, with a specialty in Organizational Development from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. In addition to the formal education, Mrs. Cunningham has received her Accredited Residential Manager (ARM®) and Certified Property Management (CPM®) designations from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM); Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS), Tax Credit Specialist (TCS) and Blended Occupancy Specialist (BOS) accreditations from the National Center of Housing Management.


Lisa Kuklinski, Director of Residential & Community Programs

Lisa joined Heartland Housing in 2015. She brings 14 years of experience in affordable and supportive housing, public policy and public affairs to Heartland. Her position is a new one for Heartland Housing, increasing Heartland Housing’s focus on Residential and Community Programs. Her responsibilities include: collaborating with both housing development and property management professionals; all aspects of housing development and operations; the design, monitoring and evaluation of resident services and community engagement for Heartland Housing’s properties; oversight of contracts with external and internal partners; stakeholder and community building; leadership and supervision internally; and building relationships with community partners including governments. Lisa will also be leading policy and advocacy work on affordable and supportive housing issues in association with Heartland Alliance’s Policy and Advocacy division.

Prior to Heartland Housing, Lisa was Vice President for Public Affairs & New Markets at Mercy Housing Lakefront (MHL). She was with MHL for 14 years in various roles in resident services, government and community affairs, public policy, communications and new market development. She was responsible for opening the Milwaukee market for MHL including working with the real estate development team and Milwaukee’s City and County government to develop funding for capital, services and operating support for the Johnston Center, a 91 unit supportive housing apartment building which eliminated homelessness for 12% of Milwaukee’s homeless people when it opened in 2010. Her Civic Participation/Tenant Leadership Project, designed to reintegrate formerly homeless residents back into community life, received recognition from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Prior to her work in affordable housing, Lisa worked in public policy around several issues including gender equity, workforce development and public safety. She was a community organizer and a leader in the development of community policing in Chicago.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Supportive Housing Providers’ Association and is active in her community.

Lisa Holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Loyola University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics from Eastern Illinois University.


Kristina Butler, Executive Assistant

Ms. Butler, Executive Assistant, began her work at Heartland Housing in June 2012.  Through her varied experiences she provides strong skills in the areas of database management, administrative services, and research. Ms. Butler holds a BA in Sociology from Ohio University and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from North Park University.


Charlie Johnson, Associate Director of Real Estate Development

Charlie joined Heartland Housing in 2015 and serves as an associate director of real estate development. His responsibilities include all facets of affordable housing development, including site selection, underwriting, financing applications, building program development, architectural and construction oversight. Prior to joining Heartland Housing, Charlie spent 5 years with Heartland Housing’s sister organization, Heartland Human Care Services, where he served as the director of business operations for the Housing Division. Before joining the Heartland Alliance team, Charlie worked as a project manager and financial analyst for Richard Knorr International, an international developer that focuses on developing resort communities in the Caribbean and South America. Charlie’s other work experience includes construction management at Orren Pickell Designers and Builders, a design-build firm that specializes in building custom homes in Chicagoland’s Northshore community, and Wrightwood Construction, a residential construction firm he co-founded. Charlie received his Bachelor of Science degree in real estate finance from DePaul University.


Matt Melendes, Senior Associate Director of Real Estate Development

Matt has over 10 years of experience in professional housing and community economic development in Milwaukee. Matt joined Heartland Housing’s Milwaukee office in 2014 providing management of developments in Milwaukee and Madison. Matt’s past experiences include working on a variety of affordable and permanent supportive housing developments in Milwaukee. Matt served on the permanent housing work group contributing to Milwaukee’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. Prior to joining Heartland Housing, Matt led a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood and was selected to join the City of Milwaukee team participating in 2014 Community Progress Leadership Institute on strategies on reuse of vacant properties and land. Matt currently serves on Milwaukee’s Commission on Supportive Housing. Matt has a Master of Science Degree in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Marquette University.


Ann Panopio, Associate Director of Design and Construction

Ann brings over 13 years of experience in affordable housing and community based design to Heartland Housing. Her responsibilities include managing the design and construction components of multiple housing developments from the earliest visioning stage to construction completion. Prior to joining Heartland Housing, she started her affordable housing career path at Pyatok Architects, known for creating high quality design and building performance for underserved communities unique to their cultural and social origins. This path led her to work at firms and community design centers located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston and Chicago. She has played a key role in managing and leading renovations for affordable housing with supportive services, creating disaster recovery single family infill homes and university renovations. Additionally, she is experienced in leading participatory design processes. Ann earned a B.S.in Environmental Design from the University of Houston, an M.Arch from the University of Oregon and is a licensed architect.