NHLA hires Maria Eveleth as Fair Housing Testing Coordinator
Maria Eveleth has joined New Hampshire Legal Assistance as our Fair Housing Test Coordinator.
Eveleth, who lives in Mont Vernon with her husband and 10-month old son, will train individuals to conduct fair housing tests throughout the state to determine whether New Hampshire residents in protected classes face discrimination. In 2014, NHLA opened 168 fair housing cases.
A native of Colombia, Eveleth understands the emotional struggles immigrants to the U.S. experience. She had completed law school in Colombia before her brother was kidnapped in a period of particularly dangerous political unrest there.
“My parents, to save his life, paid a huge amount of ransom, and so we lost everything,” she said.
Eveleth had completed law school in Colombia but had not taken the equivalent of the bar exam there before the family fled to the United States.
After arriving in the U.S., though she didn’t speak a word of English, Eveleth rededicated herself to her education, eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rivier College in paralegal studies.
For the past 16 years, she worked at New Hampshire Catholic Charities as an immigration counselor, a non-lawyer accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals who can act as a representative in administrative hearings.
“It’s truly heartbreaking to think people may judge you for the way you look or if you have an accent,” she said. "It’s really sad and I want to try to help and fight to make sure people are treated fairly and have the same opportunities like every body else,” she said. "Having equal opportunities to access safe, affordable housing is so important to stability in people’s lives.”
Eveleth is based in the Manchester branch office of New Hampshire Legal Assistance. For more about our Fair Housing work, watch this video of Eveleth and Fair Housing Project Director Christine Wellington on the Spanish-language public access TV program Nuestra Voz NH.
NHLA is a state-wide non-profit law firm representing low-income and elderly New Hampshire residents who cannot afford a lawyer. NHLA maintains offices in Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Manchester and Portsmouth. For more information about New Hampshire Legal Assistance, please contact Communications Manager Sarah Palermo at 603-369-6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org