New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

Housing

NHLA's Housing Justice Project attorneys and paralegals promote equal access to housing for NHLA clients by working on preserving their housing. The HJP helps individuals and families who are either currently without shelter or are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. 

The Housing Justice Project: handles cases such as

  • Section 8 or public housing issues
  • Mortgage foreclosure
  • Property Taxes
  • Mobile home park issues
  • Fair Housing/housing discrimination complaints
  • Housing accessibility issues for persons with mobility disabilities

The Fair Housing Project investigates complaints of discrimination and assists people who are victims of housing discrimination.

NHLA also does community outreach to tenants, housing providers and social service agencies about tenants’ rights and general fair housing law, focusing on the rapidly growing minority, immigrant,and refugee communities in Manchester and Nashua. We are proud to work closely with local public and private organizations that assist these particularly vulnerable populations.

To determine your eligibility for services, we encourage you to call the New Hampshire Legal Assistance local branch office nearest you, or visit www.nhlegalaid.org.

The Fair Housing Project provides civil legal aid to assist clients with disabilities when they need to obtain accommodations in housing situations; defends clients facing unlawful evictions and files discrimination complaints with administrative agencies or in court, among other work.

In addition to individual representation, the Fair Housing Project engages in systemic advocacy by providing training throughout the state on fair housing topics and by advocating for changes in laws, ordinances and policies that have a negative impact on protected class members (based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, age, marital status, or sexual orientation).

For more about what the Fair Housing Project does and who is part of the team, click here.

To contact the Fair Housing Project, call 1-800-921-1115

NHLA advocates are also members of the Foreclosure Relief Project (FRP) in collaboration with the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC), and the NH Bar Association (NHBA).

Helping borrowers keep their homes saves them and their lenders money and protects the housing market and economy of New Hampshire. In 2013 and 2014, FRP advocates helped more than 1,700 borrowers either stay in their homes or exit gracefully and with a plan for their future. With funding, FRP anticipates being able to help 2,700 more borrowers in the next three years.

To reach someone at the Foreclosure Relief Project, call 1-877-399-9995.

Latest News

NHLA Fair Housing Project Director studies impediments to access for housing discrimination victims, including minorities and persons with disabilities

It’s been almost 50 years since the federal government passed the Fair Housing Act, to suppress racial segregation in housing and to promote integration and equal housing opportunities for all, particularly those who have historically been excluded.

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority recently published its 2015 Update on barriers to Fair Housing in New Hampshire. The report was authored byour Fair Housing Project Director Chris Wellington who identified the barriers people in the state still face to fair access to housing. Anotable barrier is language access – whether for Latinos in New Hampshire’s more diverse southern tier, or Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people throughout the state.

“New Hampshire is an opportunity state,” Wellington wrote, “with a low poverty rate, good schools, low unemployment, comparatively affordable housing, low crime rate, and high environmental health. (But even) with all its positive attributes, New Hampshire has not attracted much diversity.”

In her report, she investigates the structural barriers to diversity in the state, both historic and modern, so that we may begin to overcome them. Former NHLA Housing Justice Project Director Dan Feltes, now a state senator from District 15, also authored a section of the report. NHLA Executive Director Lynne Parker served as the report's editor.

To learn more about how the disparate impact theory works to help vulnerable classes of people, click here.

Success Stories

NHLA work with the New Hampshire Foreclosure Relief Project featured in the Concord Monitor, January 3, 2016

The Johnsons very nearly lost their home, and with it, they say, their pride, dignity and sense of security, on top of a host of other emotions. But they didn’t, thanks to the work of a motley assemblage of lawyers and housing experts, coalesced with help from the landmark 2012 settlement between the federal government, 49 states and the country’s five largest lenders.

Unlike some states that diverted their settlement portions to non-housing expenses, or others that distributed them directly to homeowners in need, New Hampshire chose to direct its windfall in a different direction: expanding and improving low-cost aid for struggling homeowners.

The initiative, known as the Foreclosure Relief Project, was launched in early 2013 and sponsored jointly by the Department of Justice, the Banking Department and the Housing Finance Authority. In the years since, it has helped hundreds of struggling New Hampshire homeowners stave off foreclosure, and hundreds more at least fight until the end, according to project officials.

It did so largely by more than doubling the number of full-time “housing counselors” in the state, from 5 to 12, and erecting a network of attorneys trained in federal and state foreclosure law.

“What the funding has enabled us to do is to really have a battle plan, with real tools,” said Stephanie Bray, the project director and a staff attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Click here to read more.

NHLA Fair Housing Project secures conciliation agreement for Deaf resident who alleged discrimination by Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

NHLA’s client is a young Deaf man who moved into housing operated by MHRA in May 2014. During his application process, he faced discriminatory practices which continued into his tenancy. Initially, he tried advocating for himself but sought help from NHLA in March 2015. The discrimination included MHRA’s failure to provide American Sign Language interpreters or adaptive intercom systems, fire alarms and smoke detectors. Click here to read more.

Housing advocacy in action: NHLA helps a disabled woman keep her public housing by stopping an eviction.

A single woman with disabilities, who lives in public housing, received a free mattress from a local charitable foundation. Unfortunately this mattress contained bed bugs. The client tried to comply with the housing authority’s request to replace many of her belongings – which was extremely difficult for someone living on a very low fixed disability income – and prepare her apartment for fumigation, but still the problem persisted. The housing authority took the position that the problem was not going away because the client was not doing enough to comply with their extermination plan. A NHLA attorney assisted this client by representing her at an administrative agency hearing with the housing authority and arguing that she had in fact done her utmost to comply and help alleviate the problem, and that exterminating bed bugs is an extremely difficult and long process and not a basis for eviction in this case. The housing authority agreed and stopped the eviction action against this woman – and eventually the bed bug problem was alleviated in her apartment.

NHLA receives support from the following organizations for our Housing Justice Project: 

Campaign for Legal Services
City of Nashua
City of Portsmouth
IOLTA program of New Hampshire Bar Foundation
NH Bureau of Housing and Homeless Services
NH Housing 
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
United Way