Matthew A. Reilly, MEND for his leadership in developing affordable housing in Burlington County

Matt Reilly

Upon receiving his Masters degree in sociology from Fordham University Matt Reilly didn’t know anything about real estate, housing development, or finance. Even so, when his original post-graduation plans fell through, he took an internship with the New Community Corporation of Newark. The Corporation was formed in 1968 after the devastating riots of 1967 for the purpose of building affordable housing in the Central Ward. By the end of the summer Mr. Reilly had discovered a love for all aspects of affordable housing – putting the financial deals together, assembling real estate, and building the housing units. He signed on with the Corporation full-time.

In 12 years time, he had helped the fledgling organization develop 1,000 housing units and grow to a staff of 500. It was time to move on. Mr. Reilly went back to school for an MBA and then spent the next 15 years of his career as a commercial mortgage broker and banker in the Philadelphia area while living in Mt. Laurel. During that period, he had a passing knowledge of the Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development, Inc. (MEND), a non-profit that provided affordable housing in his community. Every year while a banker Mr. Reilly checked off the box to support MEND as part of the United Way campaign form.

In early 2001, the world of banking had lost luster for him. Upon reflection of what mattered most, Mr. Reilly remembered fondly his earlier successes in bringing affordable housing to Newark. He picked up the phone and secured an information interview with the Executive Director of MEND. In November 2001 he became MEND’s Executive Director where he has ever since applied both his banking and managerial skills.

Sharp Rd. Development in Evesham Township

MEND, established in 1969, was founded by nine religious leaders and Chairman Boyce Adams, who had the vision to recognize a burgeoning need for affordable rental housing in the quiet Moorestown area. Since it’s founding MEND has worked to help meet a portion of the ever-increasing need for affordable rental housing in the Moorestown region of southern New Jersey.

On his 10th Anniversary with MEND, Mr. Reilly has much for which to be proud. He has doubled the number of MEND’s affordable units and expanded its reach into other communities. The organization now owns or manages affordable rental housing – from single family houses to garden apartments — at 23 sites in Delanco, Deptford, Evesham, Medford, and Moorestown. Mr. Reilly’s effectiveness and stellar reputation have made him the “go-to” professional for planners and organizers who are struggling to meet the affordable housing obligations for surrounding communities.

It is with great honor that PlanSmart NJ bestows its 2011 Regional Equity Achievement Award to Matt Reilly for his many years of service in bringing affordable housing to low and moderate income individuals and families in northern and southern New Jersey.

 

 

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