Deborah VanAmerongen will leave her post as commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal to join the Nixon Peabody, LLP, law firm.

She is set to join the firm’s affordable housing practice as a strategic policy adviser Feb. 1. VanAmerongen will work closely with attorneys to assist developers, owners, and managers of affordable housing, as well as their financing partners, nationwide. She will be based in the firm’s New York office.

“We think she’s going to be a perfect fit for the group,” said Stephen J. Wallace, leader of the practice. “Her background and expertise is in line with the same type of practice that we’ve built over the years.”

Wallace cites VanAmerongen’s experience working at the state housing agency as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she was director of multifamily housing for the New York City region.

 She is the first non-attorney to join Nixon Peabody’s affordable housing group, which represents housing developers as well state and local housing agencies.

New York Gov. David Paterson praised VanAmerongen for her years of public service, saying that she has helped to author landmark legislation and implement new programs to help revitalize communities and help families avoid foreclosure. “Perhaps her greatest achievement is helping to negotiate the recently completed refinancing of Starrett City, which will keep nearly 6,000 households affordable for an additional 30 years,” he said.

VanAmerongen is the second state housing official to recently leave her post. In December, Priscilla Almodovar resigned as president and CEO of the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the State of New York Mortgage Agency.