Amy M. McClain, a partner with Ballard Spahr and leader of the firm's Government-Assisted Housing Practice, has begun her term as Chair of the Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law of the American Bar Association (ABA).

Based in Ballard Spahr's Baltimore office, Ms. McClain was elected Chair in May by Forum members during the group's 2017 annual meeting in Washington, D.C. She took office during the 2017 ABA Annual Meeting in New York City earlier this month. Ms. McClain previously served as Chair-Elect of the Forum—and has also served as Vice Chair and on the group's 12-member Governing Committee.

The Forum, with about 4,500 members, serves as a clearinghouse for information and programs on affordable housing and community development. The organization presents educational and training programs and promotes and assists with the activities of state and local bar associations, ABA entities, and other groups with an interest in affordable housing and community development. The Forum also publishes the Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, a quarterly publication that facilitates communication among housing lawyers, provides a forum for exchange of ideas and solutions, and helps coordinate efforts of ABA entities whose work involves this area of law.

"It's an honor to lead this diverse organization of professionals dedicated to improving communities and the lives of people who need affordable housing," Ms. McClain said. "I intend to work with my Forum colleagues to ensure our organization remains vibrant and continues to play an important role in formulation and application of affordable housing and community development policy and law. With federal housing funds for the construction and preservation of affordable housing and the revitalization of communities facing possible cutbacks from Congressional appropriations and the effects of potential tax reform, the Forum's mission has never been more important than now."

Ms. McClain represents public-housing authorities and affordable-housing developers in mixed-finance transactions involving project-based subsidies and mixed-use elements. She works with a variety of funding structures, including federally supported housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits, community solar gardens, and tax-exempt financing mechanisms, while also addressing complex real estate issues intertwined with affordable-housing development. She is nationally recognized for her work with the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and authored the Beginner's Guide to Public Housing Conversion under RAD, a Forum-sponsored guidebook published by the ABA. Ms. McClain's recent work includes closing the nation's largest single RAD conversion, involving 1,395 units in Far Rockaway in the New York City borough of Queens.

In addition, Ms. McClain maintains an active pro bono practice providing legal services to people and organizations in need, including children with disabilities, political-asylum seekers, and animal-welfare advocates.

Related Areas